If you are struggling to stay on top of your bills, you don’t need to be told how stressful money troubles can be. Each day you worry about how to feed your family while bracing yourself for the next angry phone call from a bill collector. At this point, bankruptcy seems the wisest option for many reasons. And you are right to think that.
Your best bet for a successful outcome is to choose a good bankruptcy attorney. The judicial system advises, “Filing personal bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 takes careful preparation and understanding of legal issues. Misunderstandings of the law or making mistakes in the process can affect your rights. Court employees and bankruptcy judges are prohibited by law from offering legal advice.”
Here are five key things to look for in your bankruptcy attorney.
Attorneys practice in multiple areas, and it is best to go with an attorney specializing in bankruptcy law. In addition, you want to find a bankruptcy attorney with a track record of handling bankruptcy cases. Attorneys that operate in various fields are unlikely to be familiar with the nuances of bankruptcy law or to be up to date on the most recent legal developments in the field.
A clear indicator of expertise is if they are members of organizations like the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.
The best attorney for a bankruptcy case is one that has chosen to deal specifically with bankruptcy. An experienced attorney knows how to file bankruptcy paperwork and understands the system. What matters is the number of bankruptcy cases they have successfully handled. Here are some questions to ask when speaking with an attorney:
Most often, former clients refer you to one attorney or another. That speaks volumes about their approach and their ability. Ask about their credentials. Check the State Bar to see if legitimate complaints have been filed. Check for responses to those complaints. Those can give an insight into how they approach confrontation and gives you a peek at their personality.
Besides being familiar with general bankruptcy law, your attorney should know the local laws of the court where your bankruptcy will be filed. Bankruptcy procedures vary from state to state and by District. Finding an experienced attorney who has practiced in your area allows them to use their knowledge of procedure and local rules to your benefit.
When choosing a bankruptcy attorney, they should do more than inspire confidence that they can manage your case professionally. Your mind should be at ease after speaking to and discussing your situation. You should feel comfortable and trust them with such a huge life decision. This becomes more important if your case is complicated or could take longer to resolve.
You want someone that will listen to you and learn the details of your case so they can best understand and represent you.
Don’t make your decision based solely on price. Paying a good lawyer could save you money if they successfully represent you. On the other hand, choosing a lawyer with a lower rate could mean cutting corners which could lead to a bad outcome in your bankruptcy case.
Ask for referrals from friends and family. Do online research as well.
The bottom line is that the bankruptcy process can be complicated to navigate. For that reason alone, hiring an attorney with experience in bankruptcy law is crucial. But, as stressful as this seems, it is also an opportunity for a fresh start. The right attorney at Miller, Hollander, and Jeda can make this process much more manageable. Contacting us is the first step to financial freedom.
Miller, Hollander & Jeda’s founding attorneys began practicing in the early 1970s before putting down roots in the area and joining forces in 1992 to create the Naples, Florida, law firm that bears their names. Since its inception, Miller, Hollander & Jeda has focused on bankruptcy. The goal of our attorneys and our experienced staff, established at the outset and built upon year by year, is to use our extensive knowledge of bankruptcy law to answer the complicated questions you have regarding your financial trouble and help you solve your problems. We take pride in helping clients get a fresh start.