Curious to know what happens during a bankruptcy consultation?
It’s great that you are taking the time to do research in advance, as this ensures you get the most from your consultation. This initial meeting is typically between 30 and 60 minutes long, and you will have the opportunity to speak with a bankruptcy attorney in person.
The purpose of a bankruptcy consultation is for the attorney to get a feel for the financial issues you are facing and the best ways to handle them. Your options include Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 13 bankruptcy and alternatives like debt management plans and debt counseling.
At The Law Office of William Waldner, we offer free consultations to those who are interested in filing bankruptcy. You can request a consultation by text, phone or email. We also let you pick your preferred meeting location – over Zoom, on the phone or right here in our office. Request your consultation today and see what options for debt relief are available.
How to Prepare for a Bankruptcy Consultation
Each law firm has their own process, but you can expect the following tips to be helpful no matter who you meet with.
Gather information on your assets, debt and income.
Before meeting with the lawyer, write down as much as you can about the assets you own, your income and your debts. While this information will feel personal, it’s the only way your lawyer can get a good understanding of your financial situation.
You are probably well aware of your income, but you may have to dig deeper to gain insight into your assets and debt. An asset is anything of value that you own, such as your house, car, jewelry, cash or furniture. Some assets are exempt and others are nonexempt, but be sure to list them all.
Debt is anything owed by one party to another, such as amounts owed on credit cards, car loans and mortgages. Not all debts can be discharged in bankruptcy – only some. Types of debts that can’t be discharged include alimony, child support and certain unpaid taxes.
In addition to writing down your debts, also note the interest you’re paying. Average credit card interest rates are around 24 percent but can be as high as 36 percent.
Familiarize yourself with Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
During your consultation, your bankruptcy attorney will discuss the two types of bankruptcy that you may be eligible for: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Still, it can help to familiarize yourself with the differences between the two types of bankruptcy. This way, you can use your time to ask the right questions.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation plan that wipes away most debts so that you can start fresh. It’s more popular because it doesn’t require you to pay back a portion of your debts. Chapter 13 bankruptcy, on the other hand, is a repayment plan that you will be responsible for paying back over the next three to five years.
However, not everyone qualifies for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You will need to take a means test, and if you don’t pass, Chapter 13 bankruptcy might be your only option.
Be open to other types of debt relief.
While Chapter 7 bankruptcy is probably the option you’re most in favor of, we recommend being open to other forms of debt relief as well. It’s possible that your lawyer might suggest something different based on the information you provide, such as credit counseling, debt consolidation, debt settlement or a debt management plan.
Bankruptcy offers many benefits, but it is a last resort option. Therefore, if your attorney feels that you will be better served by another type of debt relief, it’s worth looking into.
Bring a list of your questions.
We also recommend writing down any questions you might have about the process. This will help you stay on target and ensure you don’t forget to ask anything. The consultation goes by fast, and it’s easy to get sidetracked!
A common question that people ask is how much bankruptcy costs. Your attorney should be able to provide you with an estimate on filing fees and attorney fees, along with payment plan options. Other questions to ask include how long the process takes, how much debt you can erase and what property you will lose.
Schedule Your Free Consultation Today
The Law Office of William Waldner provides free consultations to those who want to learn more about filing bankruptcy in New York. Our consultations are easy to schedule, convenient and informative. We’ve helped many people start fresh, and we are prepared to do the same for you! Contact us today to schedule your consultation!