Hiring a Bankruptcy Attorney
If you need to file for bankruptcy, it is wise to hire a bankruptcy attorney. However, you can also hire a non-attorney petition preparer who will fill out all of the required paperwork for you. However, this person cannot provide legal advice or appear in court on your behalf. Bankruptcy cases are typically handled pro se by a court-appointed bankruptcy trustee. Most cases only require one interaction with a bankruptcy judge, which is during the 341 Meeting. The bankruptcy judge is not allowed to offer legal advice, so it is best to hire a bankruptcy attorney if you can afford it. Click here for more info.
Avoid attorneys with assembly line approach
A bankruptcy attorney who follows an assembly line approach is not the best option. These attorneys handle thousands of cases and don’t focus on the unique aspects of each client’s case. You’ll be better off hiring an attorney who takes time to learn about your individual situation and can answer any questions you have about the bankruptcy process. These attorneys will also work to minimize your debt and will guide you through the entire process.
Avoid attorneys with petition preparers
When selecting a bankruptcy attorney, it’s important to hire an attorney who can provide individualized attention. If you’re dealing with a bankruptcy mill, he or she might not be as concerned with your needs and financial situation as a private attorney. These firms handle many cases at one time and don’t have the time to focus on the specifics of each case. Additionally, attorneys who work as “petition preparers” are often unqualified to offer legal advice or shepherd you through the bankruptcy process. So, you should choose an attorney you like and who can listen to your needs and explain your options in a straightforward way.
While petition preparers do not require special training or bankruptcy knowledge, they are required to charge a fee for their work. This means that some of them might try to take advantage of people who are trying to navigate the bankruptcy process on their own. However, there are provisions in federal law that allow for individuals to sue petition preparers who do not comply with bankruptcy requirements. Choosing the wrong person to handle your case can result in your case being dismissed and you losing money.
The bankruptcy court has strict regulations about non-attorney petition preparers. Although they can provide low-cost services, they are limited in what they can and cannot do. In most cases, these non-attorneys cannot provide legal advice and cannot represent you in court. This means you should choose an attorney who is licensed to practice law.
Cost of hiring a bankruptcy attorney
The costs of hiring a bankruptcy attorney vary widely, depending on the complexity of your case and your location. The national average is $3,000, but there are regional and local variations. For instance, in the eastern district of North Carolina, the cost of hiring a bankruptcy attorney is $3,750, while the fee for a lawyer in central Alabama is $2,750. In addition to the attorney’s fee, some attorneys charge extra fees, which can range from $500 to $1,500.
The costs of hiring a bankruptcy attorney also depend on whether you are filing for chapter seven or chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a relatively simple process, whereas Chapter 13 bankruptcy is more complex and longer-term. As a result, the fees for a bankruptcy attorney in chapter 13 cases are significantly higher. A typical case can take five years to complete, which means that the legal fees can easily exceed $5,000.
Another factor that affects the costs of a bankruptcy attorney is how much you make. High-income individuals usually pay about $300 more than average. Other factors include the number of creditors and whether or not you have filed for bankruptcy within the last eight years. People who have a large amount of assets and debts also tend to pay more for their attorney. For these reasons, it’s wise to seek free or low-cost legal help from a legal aid society or an attorney in your area.
If you’re looking to save money, you might want to consider hiring a bankruptcy attorney on an hourly basis. This option is more convenient if you’re not a high-income person but be sure to ask how much you’ll have to pay for their services. While bankruptcy attorneys charge by the hour, you should also be aware that the hourly fees often don’t include court filing fees and related legal expenses.