You’ve run into a financial jam. You’re looking at all your debt relief options and trying to decide how to tackle your problem. What should you do?
A classic mistake many people make is crossing bankruptcy off the list. They don’t want to file bankruptcy because of assumptions they hold, opinions of others, or information they read online.
Plus, emotions can make this choice even trickier. When you’re suffering in the middle of a financial situation, your emotions will run wild and you may struggle with your mental health. Panic can often be moments away.
Fear and concern influence the decisions you make. That’s why it is essential to act with intention and make choices based on facts and truthful information.
Bankruptcy is a Highly Regulated Process – with Flexibility
I’m a firm believer in getting expert advice and assistance to deal with an issue you don’t have any advanced skills in.
It seems ridiculous for someone to go to the garage and get a drill to do their own dental filling, right? Well, it’s just as absurd that someone would want to file their own bankruptcy. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
Bankruptcy gives you significant legal protections. But making mistakes filing your bankruptcy can have consequences. In the hands of a competent bankruptcy attorney, filing is an art and not a paperwork process.
For example, maybe you think you earn too much money to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy instead of Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Just looking at information online can easily lead you to the wrong conclusion. I’ve seen so many people that did not appear to qualify for quick elimination of debt in Chapter 7 be able to file for that protection when working with a good attorney.
The key is to find the right bankruptcy attorney who can provide you with advice, feedback, and a plan for getting the maximum benefit from bankruptcy.
Connect with a qualified team before you decide to file.
How to choose a bankruptcy attorney
Think about finding a bankruptcy attorney like finding a new dentist. You know what that’s like. It’s tough to figure out if the random dentist will be someone you trust and like.
When you are looking for a dentist, you might check reviews and ask locals for feedback.
Hunting for the right bankruptcy attorney is a tougher process. No one wants to go around and ask people if they filed bankruptcy and liked their attorney. And it’s tricky to find a great bankruptcy attorney with one call.
So, what can you do to make finding the right bankruptcy attorney easier for you? Follow the four steps below to simplify the process.
Step 1: Remember that you are the client.
You are hiring the bankruptcy attorney. They work for you and represent you in this legal process.
Stop thinking you hope the attorney will accept you as their client. Remember, you have the power to make the best decision about who you want to represent you.
Step 2: Interview the attorney.
We don’t click with everyone, and finding the right attorney to represent you is essential to getting the maximum benefit from this process.
You can look at online reviews about local bankruptcy attorneys that are licensed to practice law in your state. But the best way to find the right attorney is to talk to them.
Bankruptcy attorneys typically offer a free or low-cost consultation for prospective clients. I highly recommend that you schedule an appointment to go in and meet with the attorney face-to-face. Don’t be nervous. Nobody is judging you.
When you visit the attorney, observe how the office treats you. Are communications timely? Are you treated with respect? Does the attorney provide guidance and advice based on your specific situation?
Step 3: Ask the right questions.
When you meet with each attorney, keep your background information succinct, but be honest when describing your current situation and your goals. Do you want to buy a house, save for retirement, or build your emergency fund later? Are you looking to discharge student loan debt?
Deciding the best form of bankruptcy to file and when to file will depend on your unique situation and what you want to achieve.
For example, maybe your current car is dying. Before you file bankruptcy, it might be the right time to buy a new, reliable and fuel-efficient car and make those monthly payments through your bankruptcy to keep the car.
Or, let’s say you will be retiring in the next six months and your income is going to drop significantly. It might be better to wait to file until after that happens.
If you’re going to wait to file bankruptcy, ask the attorney if you can pay them each month to represent you until then. If collectors drive you crazy, you can then direct them to the attorney representing you instead of dealing with them yourself.
We can help you get the bankruptcy help you need.
Step 4: Take a moment to ponder which attorney is best for you
After interviewing at least three attorneys and their offices, take a few days to think about which attorney will be best for you. Remember, you are the client.
Once you’ve made your decision, let the attorney know. Give the office the information they need and don’t be afraid to ask questions throughout the process.
7 Things You Can Do Right Now
- Take a deep breath. Get your mind in a calm state. Realize nobody is judging you but yourself. You are not a loser. Things will get better.
- Stop reacting to collectors and financial fears. Perception and reality are two different states of thinking. A collector might intimidate and frighten you because it helps them extract money out of you. They are just trying to do their job.
- Start being proactive and hunting for a solution. Consider bankruptcy and see if it is right for you. Stop being run over by the debt bus and start driving it.
- Remember, you are hiring the attorney. You are the client. You should be treated with professionalism, kindness, and respect.
- Look for local bankruptcy attorneys that are licensed to practice law in your state. Identify at least three to interview.
- Don’t be a jerk. While you are genuinely the client, that doesn’t give you the right to be a demanding, rude person. You are looking for a professional partner in this chapter of your life. Be nice.
- Be open and honest with your bankruptcy attorney. They need to understand your situation and your future financial goals to craft the best solution for you. There is nothing you can say to the attorney that they have not heard before.
Think about bankruptcy like this: You can hire a painter to paint your house. They might just slap the paint on the house. Or, you can hire an artist to paint your house and wind up with a beautiful work of art that represents you better.
Take the tricky out of bankruptcy and find your artist attorney.
Steve Rhode is better known as the “Get Out of Debt Guy.” He’s been teaching people how to solve money problems since the 1990s. He considers this to be one of his greatest moments: declaring bankruptcy.
Article last modified on April 21, 2023. Published by Debt.com, LLC