How Much Will a Bankruptcy Attorney Cost Me?
Once you’ve made the decision to file for bankruptcy the first thing you’re probably concerned about is bankruptcy attorney fees. You may well be thinking, if I could afford to pay bankruptcy attorney fees, I wouldn’t be filing bankruptcy.
Fortunately, your options are better than you might think. Here are the steps you should take when looking for a bankruptcy attorney.
Choosing the Right Attorney
You want to start by choosing a lawyer based on their specialties. For example, if you are filing for Chapter 7, you want a Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer. Likewise, for Chapter 13, you want a Chapter 13 attorney. Some of the major bankruptcy services will be able to handle all types of bankruptcies – but they will probably be expensive, as well.
Get it in Writing
Once you decide on an attorney to handle your bankruptcy, get the fees out of the way as the first order of business. You don’t want to be stuck with hidden and unexpected fees.
Whatever agreement you both arrive at should be on paper. Make sure you understand all the legal clauses that are involved.
Since law firms are free to charge whatever they wish, bankruptcy attorney fees vary widely base on location and brand name of the firm. The most common ways that bankruptcy lawyers charge are either a fixed fee for handling the entire bankruptcy for you or an hourly fee. Usually, it’s best to look for a standard fee. Unless your list of assets and liabilities are made of up extremely unusual financial instruments, there should be very few unusual and unexpected tasks that are required of them. If you choose the hourly route, you may be surprised at how quickly the hours can add up. You may also notice a number of cryptic billable items appearing on the bills that, not being a lawyer, you don’t know are valid or not.
If you really need a lawyer to help you declare bankruptcy, and you find that you can’t afford the bankruptcy attorney fees, see if you can work out a payment plan with the lawyer where you can pay so much per month until the bill is paid. Their incentive for doing so is that they’re not exactly taking a great risk. They know that their payments will not be among those that are dropped when the bankruptcy goes through. Having access to all of your financials, they also know that once your rid yourself of all of the old debts that you will have have enough to pay their fees. They also know that you can’t get rid of their fees by filing bankruptcy again.
Many times, you can decrease the bankruptcy attorney fees that you pay if you are able to do some of the prep work before going to the bankruptcy lawyer. You can find out all of the documents you will need and organize them, and you can find out most of the filing forms that you will need and fill out what you can. Having done quite a bit of their work for them, they should be able to give you a discount on the fees that they charge you.
By following these tips you should be able to significantly cut your bankruptcy attorney fees to an amount that you are comfortable paying.