If you’re getting ready to file for bankruptcy, it’s hard. So, don’t be afraid to ask hard questions when you go looking for a lawyer to represent you in your bankruptcy.
1. Should I Declare Bankruptcy? You may think bankruptcy is the best answer for your situation but after you’ve outlined your financial situation – even in brief, your lawyer should weigh in. The attorney may know that your major debt (child support, taxes, etc.) won’t be cleared by bankruptcy. Listen to the answers and see if the lawyer has a good grasp of the bankruptcy law – not a “Yay! Let’s do it.” attitude.
2. Chapter 7 or Chapter 13? Ask your lawyer about the difference between the two types of bankruptcy. Let that attorney know that you don’t want a definitive answer until he or she can thoroughly review your case, but ask the attorney to weigh in on what option might be best for you. Again, listen and hear if the answer is delivered in a way that shows his or her knowledge and professionalism.
3. What Are The Negatives For Me? Bankruptcy is a difficult decision. Even though it is designed to give people a fresh start, there are negatives, too. Ask the potential attorney what the downside of bankruptcy is for you. How do the disadvantages stack up against the advantages of filing? It’s a fair question and one you should ask.
4. What Information Will The Attorney Need? Ask the attorney if he or she will be able to give you a detailed list of what you need to provide. You know that you want to get all necessary information to the attorney, but there may be something you overlook. The lawyer should be able to guide you.
5. Will You Go To Court With Me? You need to know if the attorney is going to be at your side. Appearing in court is often nerve-racking. You’re not used to being there, but your attorney is. You want that support. You want your lawyer by your side – not a paralegal from the office. You also want to know if and how you will be able to reach the attorney if you feel you need to speak with him or her.
When you interview a bankruptcy attorney, ask the hard questions. You should leave that appointment feeling both that you have a rapport with the lawyer and that you have confidence in the professional expertise of the attorney. It’s an important choice so talk to more than one lawyer and ask every question that is important to you.