What Services To Expect From Your Bankruptcy Lawyer
If you’ve made the decision to file for bankruptcy and have instructed an attorney to assist you, he or she will generally provide you with legal advice and deal with your case from start to finish. Below, the experts at ZocLaw.com discuss the some of the most common types of services you may expect from your bankruptcy lawyer.
Usually, the contract you and your attorney sign will highlight the exact scope of the services your bankruptcy lawyer will provide. Apart from what is stated in the agreement between yourself and your attorney, you should expect the following of your bankruptcy attorney:
Competent Legal Advice
Your bankruptcy lawyer should be knowledgeable about bankruptcy law and should be able to provide you with competent legal advice. If you attorney’s view is that bankruptcy is in your best interest, he or she should inform you about:
- The type of bankruptcy you should file, either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13,
- About the bankruptcy process and what you may expect,
- The way in which bankruptcy may assist you in achieving your financial goals,
- How you may make the process easier, and
- The difficulties of your case, if any, or the risks you should keep in mind.
Your attorney should be able to answer all your questions with respect to your bankruptcy, and should return all your calls or emails timeously.
Ability to deal with your bankruptcy
As stated above, your bankruptcy attorney should be knowledgeable about bankruptcy laws, local court rules, the process thereof and the bankruptcy trustees in your area.
Generally, the difficulty of your bankruptcy depends on:
- The type of bankruptcy you filing for (Chapter 7 or Chapter 13)
- The particular facts of your case.
When you instruct an attorney to attend to your case, be sure that you select an attorney with the skill set and experience to deal with the type of case you have.
Progress reports throughout the bankruptcy process
The trustee may during the bankruptcy process request you to provide additional documents or information. Your creditors may also contact your attorney, if they wish to query something about your case. You should expect your attorney to update you about new developments in your case throughout the process.
Preparation of your paperwork for the bankruptcy
There is a vast amount of paperwork that needs to be completed in order to file for bankruptcy. Majority of bankruptcy attorneys have specialized software that generates and files your required paperwork for the bankruptcy with the court.
It is vitally important that you provide your attorney with the necessary information that will go on the forms, such as information about your income, expenses, assets and debts. It is the duty of your attorney to prepare the forms based on the information that you provide and go through your paperwork with you to ensure that is accurate.
Filing of all required documents on time
After your initial petition is filed, you may have to file additional forms with the court or provide documents to your trustee by a specific date. Missing that deadline may cause
- Delays in the process
- Dismissal of your case, or
- Other severe consequences
Therefore, you should expect your bankruptcy lawyer to be hands on with respect to the local rules and procedures in your area, and file all the necessary documents on or before due date.
Representation at bankruptcy hearings
A meeting of creditors is held after you file bankruptcy, whereat your attendance is mandatory (also called the 341 hearing). Apart from this meeting, and depending on the facts of your case, you or your attorney may need to attend additional hearings. Sometimes your attorney may advise you that you do not have attend a particular hearing, however, your attorney should still attend on your behalf.
Besides the meeting of creditors, the following are some of the common types of hearing you may expect your attorney to represent you at:
- Chapter 13 confirmation hearings
- Chapter 7 reaffirmation hearings, and
- Any other hearings on motions or objections filed by you, your creditors, or the trustee.