Having crippling debt and the stress that goes along with it is not fun. That’s why so many people are choosing bankruptcy to eliminate their debt. When filing for bankruptcy there are many costs that are involved. A bankruptcy attorney will be the largest portion that you have to spend to file. When hiring a bankruptcy attorney, consult with a few of them so you have an idea of the dynamics of the law office and if it will work for you. Make sure to get the estimated costs and fees in writing and ask questions what the additional costs that you might incur would be. Usually, filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in most cases it is just a flat fee because they’re pretty straightforward. If you think you might need to file a Chapter 13 the costs will be a lot higher. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy the attorney has to negotiate with the bankruptcy trustee and creditors to work out a 3 to 5 year payment plan. Most attorneys allow their legal fees to be included in the reorganization plan to be paid over time. Other costs that a bankruptcy filer needs to consider is the filing fee that is paid to the court and the pre-bankruptcy credit counseling course and the post financial management course. These courses usually run between $30-$50 and can be taken easily online.
When deciding on which bankruptcy attorney to hire, educate yourself on the filing process so you can ask appropriate questions. Usually, attorneys will want a retainer fee to get started on your personal bankruptcy petition. When filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, attorneys will want to be paid in full before filing the petition with the court. The attorney fees for a Chapter 7 are usually nominal as most cases are usually completed quickly and easily. With a Chapter 13 bankruptcy the fees can be double of what you might pay for Chapter 7 because of the time spent and the complexity. Whatever the chapter of personal bankruptcy you’re filing, always ask for a list of charges upfront so there is no surprises halfway through your case.
Most people in the process of filing personal bankruptcy don’t have very much money set aside to hire a bankruptcy attorney, but if you consider the amount of debt you’re walking from the fee you have to pay seems more reasonable. Attorney prices vary from state to state and even office to office, that’s why it’s important if you’re on a strict budget to check around and get the best legal counsel for the amount you can afford. There was a spike in fees after the law changed in 2005. Most attorneys raised their fees due to the added amount of work and time it takes to complete a petition. There a lot of legal professionals out there today advertising extremely low prices and people need to beware and check references to make sure the attorney you hire is not a personal injury attorney that’s just jumping on the bankruptcy bandwagon.
Every state in the US has their own exemptions under the bankruptcy law and some districts even control the amount on what a personal bankruptcy attorney or paralegal can charge for preparing the document. With a Chapter 13, the trustee is more likely to scrutinize what an attorney is charging the debtor. Recently, there have been cases were the trustee has thought that the bankruptcy attorney or the document preparer has charged too much and will ask for the money to be returned to the debtor. Some states are more strict than others, so it really depends on where the debtor lives. When filing for bankruptcy check the local court website or even call the court and ask if there’s any restrictions on the amount a bankruptcy attorney or preparer can charge. This will give you a good idea of what you’re going to have to pay.