Dollars and Sense: How Bankruptcy Lawyers Will Help You Out of Your Sticky Financial Situation

The word “bankruptcy” tends to strike fear into our hearts, especially if we’re going through financial trouble. But most people can’t see themselves ever filing for bankruptcy. The process seems like it’s made for failing businesses, government bodies, and other organizations. But personal bankruptcy laws exist to protect citizens who find themselves struggling with severe debt. If your finances drop into the red zone, taking the following steps will get you back on your feet:

Assess the Damage

Look closely at your financial portrait. If you owe large sums to multiple creditors, if collectors are calling your house, or if you find yourself paying for essentials with a credit card, you should start to consider remedying your situation. Begin by tallying up your financial assets – bank account balances, retirement funds, stocks and bonds, real estate, vehicles, and anything else of value. Once you have a grand total, compare it to the amount you owe. If your assets are worth less than your total debts, you should seriously consider filing for bankruptcy.

How Do I File?

You may voluntarily file for bankruptcy as soon as you determine it’s necessary. Alternatively, you may be compelled by your creditors to file. However your legal process originates, don’t try to navigate it by yourself. Get in touch with bankruptcy lawyers who will look closely at your circumstances and advise you on how to proceed. There are two different claims you can file, so an attorney will help you determine the legal route that best serves your interests.

Filing a Chapter 7 Claim

A Chapter 7 claim is fairly straightforward. If approved, this claim liquidates your assets and uses them to pay off a large chunk of your debt right away. In other words, it turns most of what you own into cash, and then distributes this cash among your creditors. It sounds scary, because you lose most of your holdings. But it’s not the end of the world – many people bounce back and rebuild their assets without all that debt holding them back. Especially with trusted bankruptcy lawyers on your side, this process can lead to a much-needed fresh start.

Filing a Chapter 13 Claim

Since they involve seizing most of the filer’s holdings, Chapter 7 claims aren’t great for people who own businesses, property, and other major assets. When you have large properties that you don’t want to lose, a Chapter 13 claim is the better choice. It allows people with consistent, predictable annual incomes to pay off debts over a three- to five-year grace period. Once a judge approves a Chapter 13 claim, creditors must stop contacting the debtor. The debtor then continues to work, paying off his or her debts as best they can during the grace period. No property or other assets are liquidated in this process.

Bankruptcy lawyers will tell you: filing isn’t so scary, and can drastically improve your situation. If you’re letting unpaid bills stack up and trying to ignore them, know that you can pursue legal options to relieve the stresses of debt and protect what you own.

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Marketing Tactics for a Bankruptcy Attorney

When discussing marketing, think of it as a contact sport. Marketing should be seen as a game for every attorney. Consider it to be a game in which you are seeking to obtain the most points of contact, meaning how many individuals can be seen per week, month and year. This game should also consider the individuals that are on your marketing team who are amenable to refer your business? Below are some of the many influential tactics that can be used in order to win this so called “game” of marketing.

Obtaining the correct targets

When playing a contact sport the correct material is necessary, you wouldn’t be playing soccer while using a basketball would you? When marketing you also need to find the correct targets. If you want to win this so called marketing game it is crucial for you to market the correct individuals. These individuals are those who want and need your services. Take the time in coordinating the ideal targets with your experience in order to meet the “points of contact.”

Formulating the right type of friends

Although the process of meeting other bankruptcy attorneys and legal specialists is important, it is crucial to become friends with the more dominant and the most influential players in the market you are in. For instance, if you are in the market that deals with construction companies that are seeking bankruptcy, then it is important to accompany the trade associations and attend their conferences. At these conferences is where the correct network connections will be made.

Become a scholar

Although you may not recognize it, there are many individuals that are interested in the knowledge that you have. It is important to take time aside in order to share this knowledge through a blog, articles and trade publications by sharing it throughout social media. There are many industry event coordinators that are seeking to obtain speakers and workshop leaders. When speaking or leading a workshop this puts you in the front of the room, which gives you all of the attention more than the average propaganda could ever do.

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How To Find The Right Bankruptcy Attorney

At the height of the Great Recession in 2009, more than 1.4 million people filed for bankruptcy protection. As the American economy struggled to regain its footing, that number actually increased the following year. Nearly 1.6 million citizens filed for protection in federal courts in 2010, according to statistics released by the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts.

Though filings have declined of late, tens of millions of Americans are in constant danger of being overwhelmed by their debts. Not surprisingly, lawyers who work in this field are in high demand. In this article, we will discuss exactly what these legal professionals do and how they can save you from losing everything.

But before we begin, nobody wants to file for bankruptcy. Although it is quite common, filing is an incredibly unpleasant process. It is also a public admission of failure, which is why few Americans do it willingly.

Why Contact An Attorney?

Because the U.S. Bankruptcy Code is incredibly complicated, people that are considering filing for protection should call a qualified bankruptcy attorney. Yes, a person can represent himself in court, but it is seldom a good idea. Attorneys spend years studying the dense language of the U.S. tax code before they stand up in court. A neophyte cannot possibly compete. It is also important to note that if you make a single mistake on your petition or you file it incorrectly, your case could be summarily dismissed.

What To Look For In A Bankruptcy Attorney

For starters, the lawyer should be considerate enough to offer a free consultation. After all, you are filing for protection because you can’t pay your bills. Paying consultation fees on top of what you will be charged for your case really is a waste. Fortunately, most of the top attorneys in the field offer initial meetings for free. It is also best to speak with more than one legal professional before you make your decision.

The single most important consideration when searching for a bankruptcy attorney is experience. In other words, he or she should specialize in bankruptcy law. As we mentioned, the code that governs this area of legal practice is extremely complicated and an attorney who does not specialize in it may not be able to compete with those that do. It is also important to contact a professional in your area, since different states and regions may have different laws.

An experienced legal advisor should also be a great negotiator. Since most of these cases are settled, it is important to ask about a prospective lawyer’s success in negotiating favorable terms with specific examples.

Last but not least, it is important to consider the hourly rate. Because most of the cases take time, clients can end up owing a fortune if the lawyer charges a high rate. Therefore, it is always a good idea to ask for a rough cost estimate before you agree to anything. If you can afford the fee and the lawyer seems to know his or her stuff, you may have found your match.

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Everything You Must Know Before Selecting a Bankruptcy Attorney

Before making the decision to file for bankruptcy, it is important to realize that there are four different types of ways individuals and companies can file. Your bankruptcy attorney will be able to help you determine whether you should file for Chapter 7, 11, 12, or 13. Chapters 7 and 13 are personal options. On the other hand, chapters 11 and 12 are for corporations and those in the agricultural business.

The first step you will need to take in order to select a bankruptcy attorney is to search for lawyers in your area that practice in the appropriate Chapter you will be filing. There are some lawyers that focus on personal finances, while others may simply focus on businesses. Some firms may do a mix of both. More general firms that practice a wide variety of law are also an option. When it comes to filing on behalf of an individual, many firms choose to file Chapter 7. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the least complicated way to file.

When selecting a bankruptcy attorney, it is best to seek someone with experience in the field. You are going to want someone who knows what they are doing and is highly knowledgeable when it comes to settling your finances. If you choose to go with an individual as opposed to a firm, it is best to ask if the lawyer has a reference source that he or she uses in the event they are unfamiliar with a particular part of your case. When choosing a firm, all of the members of the practice can work together if a problem arises. Firms are likely to have individuals who are knowledgeable in a wide variety of areas; making all references in-house. Remember, even the slightest mistake can cause your case to be dismissed.

Find out if the person you choose is going to be available to answer your questions. Find out how long it may take for return calls and what happens if your lawyer is unavailable when a need arises. Is there a backup option in place? In order to head down the road to financial freedom, you are going to need someone that is available.

Before making your decision, be sure to check references. Most firms will provide you with a list of clients that they have worked with in the past. Make a few phone calls to see what others have to say before making your decision. When you are not in good financial standing, asking friends and family for their advice may be the last thing you want to do. However, they may be able to provide you with a reference for a bankruptcy attorney.

Finding the person that is going to represent your case is not a decision that should be taken lightly. When it comes to your finances, experience and professionalism are extremely important.

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Four Questions to Ask Bankruptcy Lawyers Before Choosing One

Filing for bankruptcy is a scary prospect, even if you do so voluntarily. There are several different chapters, each with different rules. Hiring qualified bankruptcy lawyers can make the process easier and protect you from your creditors. However, it can be difficult to choose the best attorney for your case. Ask these four questions to get answers that can help you decide.

Do you charge a flat-fee to represent me?

Hiring any attorney costs money. This is particularly troubling when you are considering filing for insolvency, as money is the cause of the problem in the first place. Some legal practitioners bill by the hour. The good news is that most bankruptcy lawyers charge a flat fee for the entire course of representation. Typically, this fee will include consulting with you and analyzing your circumstances, preparing and filing the necessary documents, and representing you during the insolvency proceedings. Sometimes, creditors challenge the bankruptcy. Other times, creditors can still come in and foreclose on a home. Often, the flat-fee does not cover these additional situations. Before choosing from several bankruptcy lawyers, make sure you understand each attorney’s fee arrangement.

Is bankruptcy your primary line of work?

Any licensed attorney can help you file the required paperwork. However, insolvency proceedings involve complex areas of law that do not apply anywhere else. Moreover, deciding what chapter to file involves a detailed analysis of your individual financial situation and expectations. Even a seasoned legal practitioner whose primary work is bringing tort claims or structuring commercial transactions will generally not have the knowledge and skills necessary to adequately protect you from your creditors. You need a legal practitioner who is devoted to handling insolvency cases.

What can I expect from you regarding communication?

It is important to find a legal practitioner whose practice is primarily devoted to handling insolvency cases, but it is equally important to find a legal practitioner who will devote individual attention to your case, because determining the best course of action requires a detailed analysis of your financial situation. You should know how long the legal practitioner will devote to reviewing your situation, how quickly your phone calls will be returned, how frequently the lawyer will update you on case progress, when you can expect pertinent documents to be drafted, and what efforts your advocate will make to cease the creditors’ collection efforts.

Will you have staff who assist you on my case?

Bankruptcy lawyers have a substantial number of clients and will not always be directly available to work on your case. There will be routine matters that will need attention, but do not necessarily require the personal attention of the attorney. It is important that the attorney have staff or junior lawyers available to work on the case when the primary legal practitioner is not directly available. However, you should also make sure that the attorney handling the case will personally review the work of junior lawyers and non-attorney staff members.

Asking these important questions will help you to choose from among the many bankruptcy lawyers in your area.

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