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  • Edward Hanratty

File bankruptcy and be better off, and get a good lawyer

It's going to be hard to do one without the other. This 2015 Federal REserve bank shows that people who file bankruptcy are better off than those who slug it out with high debt loads. https://libertystreeteconomics.newyorkfed.org/2015/02/insolvency-after-the-2005-bankruptcy-reform.html . After all, life is short, and you really don't want to spend it in servitude to VISA and Mastercard.


But to really get the benefit of bankruptcy, like getting the most benefit from anything, you have to be sure the lawyer you hire is the right one for you. By right one for you, I mean does the lawyer give you the impression that he/she is picking up the nuances of your case? Is the lawyer asking for papers beyond the basics that are required to file your petition? One tip off is the fee agreement, if you are going to see a lawyer based on a low flat fee, you should probably see another lawyer. The lower the fee, the less time the lawyer will spend on your case because the more cases the lawyer has to accept to keep the lights on in the office. If your family and your future are the exact same as everyone else that hired that lawyer ever, then you are probably ok, but if there is any sort fo particular problem, you will have to discover it, the lawyer likely won't. Not from a lack of competence or goodwill, simply a lack of time to give the case the attention it needs. If your future and your family are worth the money to you, see a lawyer that charges by the hour, that lawyer may give you an estimate for the work, but will let you know that the amount quoted is not a limit. A decent lawyer will also point out that bankruptcy is about money, so each part of the problem has to be weighed as to what it will cost to take action versus what the cost of inaction will be. If you are getting the idea that you should have a pretty long meeting with your bankruptcy lawyer at least a couple of times to discuss your case, you are right. If you never meet the lawyer until you are in court, that's a problem.

This is a link to a court opinion about a low/fixed-fee lawyer and what happened to his clients. https://www.moeb.uscourts.gov/sites/moeb/files/Steward_Order.pdf .

A good relationship with your lawyer starts at the first meeting, in the office, where you discuss problems, solutions, and goals. If you don't have that conversation first, you are not getting the most for your dollar, no matter how much or little you spend.






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Its also a pretty useful article, so worth the time to read it if you want to know how many times, or when, you can file bankruptcy. https://www.bankrate.com/finance/debt/chapter-13-an-option-even-aft

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