Top 10 Questions to Ask Bankruptcy Lawyer

There are times in your life when you have to take very tough decisions. One such decision you have to take is when you have hardly any money left with you to pay your debts or bankruptcy auto loans. Of course, you would start with negotiations and proceed on with some settlements also, but what if they do not serve the purpose still? That is when you need to file for bankruptcy. It’s common for us to go through such situations and there is nothing we should feel embarrassed about. 

There are two types of bankruptcy that one can file for – a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The Chapter 7 bankruptcy is also known as liquidation bankruptcy as it involves selling one’s assets to pay for the debts. The second is Chapter 13 bankruptcy when one is planning to buy a car but falls short of any money types – in cash or kind.

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What should one do when such a situation is encountered? Also, the question arises, “what happens to your car if you file bankruptcy”? Well, the answer is straightforward – consult a bankruptcy lawyer. That done, one needs to know what kind of questions can be asked from a bankruptcy lawyer. One could easily ask any bankruptcy lawyer the following questions:

  1. Experience: Know how much experience the lawyer has as a bankruptcy attorney. You need to be sure that you are not dealing with a novice as bankruptcy cases are a serious issue.
  2. Track Record: Ask the lawyer about his track record regarding the cases similar to the one you have come up with. Does he know the complications of the case and can he deal with them deftly or not? Do not hesitate to ask as it is the question of your money as well as reputation.
  3. Bankruptcy Type: It is not that you file for bankruptcy every day. You may not be knowing which type of bankruptcy to file for. Ask your lawyer. It’s his job to provide you with the correct information about bankruptcy types before going any further. With Chapter 7 Bankruptcy you may have to forego your assets but you get rid of any debts you were facing. In the case of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, you may even be buying a car without having to pay any kind of down payment.
  4. Costs: Before you actually get into the thick of things, ensure that you know the entire bankruptcy costs such as the lawyer’s fee, administrative fees, or any other extra costs that you may have to bear. Also, remember you have a written agreement regarding the fees of the lawyer, a copy of which must also be in your possession.
  5. Representation: Ask the lawyer whether he/she will be the one to present your case in court or will it be someone else. If it is going to be someone else ensure that the case details are shared with him/her in detail, and nothing is left to chance.
  6. Contact: Know how to contact your attorney. Some prefer email while others prefer phone as a medium of communication. Also, ask your lawyer that in his absence who will put his case forward in the court.
  7. What is good for me? – Consider this to be the most important question. Ask your lawyer whether, first of all, filing for bankruptcy for you is a good option or not. Consider the pros and cons before you do so. This the attorney can do very well. He can tell you how the filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy can even help him buy a car if he is interested in doing so.
  8. Problems with Bankruptcy: Problems can come anywhere and at any time. They can come in your bankruptcy case as well. What are those problems and what will be their implications on the outcome of your case? You should understand all such things very clearly from your lawyer. A good lawyer will always be ready to tell you the risks you might have to face such as loss of property or a cut in your credit score. If he is explaining the risks and other related issues to you regarding bankruptcy, rest assured you have got a good lawyer to guide you successfully through the case. Ask your attorney if there are any red flags in your case.  If you have done anything due to which the court may reject your case, put it in front of your lawyer. Ask him if any of such actions could be a hindrance in the case or they could be ignored? Do not hide anything from your lawyer.
  9. Time: So how much time are you going to stick around the court? Ask the attorney. Generally, it is around a 4-month period for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, but for Chapter 13 it can run into years depending upon your payback plans.
  10. What now? The case is settled, but you might not be. You might still be reeling under the pressure of the financial losses you have suffered. Ask your lawyer whether he or any other firm will support him in those thin times. There are firms that will help you in increasing your credit score and there are also other firms that will help you financially. One thing you need to beware of during this time – the LOAN SHARKS. If you fall prey to these Loan Sharks, you will end up where you started from – in the court.

Just before the final conclusion, here are some documents you need to have in possession before you go meet your bankruptcy lawyer:

  • Files Tax Returns of the last two years  
  • Bank Statements of Last Seven Months along with Paycheck Stubs
  • If you’re self-employed, profit and loss statements of the last two years accompanied by year-to-date figures
  • Current copies of your mortgage and vehicle loan statements
  • All foreclosure-related paperwork
  • Copy of your life insurance policy
  • Copies of your investment and retirement statements
  • A car valuation  
  • If you’re separated or divorced, a copy of your marital settlement agreement
  • A copy of your drivers’ license, and
  • A copy of your social security card.

Now that we have discussed almost all the questions that can be asked from a bankruptcy lawyer, it should make you feel at ease and confident when you take up your case to the lawyer. Also, you will be knowing the answers to some of the questions that you ask your lawyer.  

Author Bio: Rahil Verma is the editor at dayonecredit.com. With more than 7 years of experience in the finance industry, he is obsessed with innovating new ways of creating content that is useful and effective, especially focused towards helping people going through bankruptcy. When he is not working, he enjoys camping out in nature with his family.