Below is a list of items that you must think about when you are deciding to file for bankruptcy.
1. Cost. Most attorneys will try to get as much as they can out of you. Know that a typical Chapter 7 costs roughly $1,700 to $2,000, this figure really depends on the situation; however, if you have no unusual assets (such as a large boat or another house in Aspen) then look for the magic $1,700 to $2,000 number. Chapter 13s are closer to $3,500.00.
2. Most firms will allow you to set up a payment plan. Normally, they will ask you for $100 a month and some will even offer $50 a month. Please be aware that if they do not offer a payment plan, you probably want to go with a different attorney.
3. Although the costs quoted above are a lot of money, the attorneys you hire should get on the phone to your debt collectors soon after you hire them. Within the week of you signing with an attorney, you sould stop getting those nasty creditor calls!
4. Moreover, as soon as you hire a lawyer, you can stop worrying about your debt. You can immediately cease payment on most of the credit card or medical bills that you are struggling with.
5. Be careful of hiring any law firm that advertises on TV on a regular basis. These firms usually are “bankruptcy mills,” processing thousands of bankruptcies per month. The downside to this type of firm is that you may end up with someone that will not give you the care and attention you deserve. Much better to go with a smaller, less money-hungry firm.
6. Once you hire an attorney, your bankruptcy should begin immediately, and the entire procress (from the time you fill out your paperwork to the moment of meeting with a judge and your debt is wiped clean) should last 90 days, roughly — again, this time frame depends on how usual or unusual your case is. Also note that 7 years after you file, the slate is wiped clean, and you can file for bankruptcy again if you need to.
7. Finally, the most important thing to know is that when you meet with a lawyer, you should get the feeling that you trust them; after all, they are handling one of the most important decisions you will ever make.