Have you found yourself in deep financial trouble? Struggling to pay your mortgage, car loan, and credit card bills? Financial problems can happen to the best of us. Over half of Americans can’t cover a $1,000 emergency expense with their savings accounts. This means it doesn’t take much for people to dip into financial stress, especially if they lose their jobs or can’t work for some reason.
The good news is that you have a shot at a new life by filing for bankruptcy in New York. And the best part is that you may not have to lose your home or car. Just because you file bankruptcy does not mean you automatically lose these assets. There are ways to protect your house and car; your bankruptcy attorney will know how to do this.
The key is to choose an experienced and knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney who will guide you through the process and get you the favorable outcome you seek. Below are some tips to help you find the best bankruptcy attorney in NY.
Look for a Bankruptcy Specialist
Bankruptcy is a highly specialized area of law, so you’ll want to find a lawyer specializing in this specifically. Your other option is to file bankruptcy yourself, which is generally a bad idea. Bankruptcy cases are complicated, and your case can be dismissed if you make a mistake.
Fortunately, many attorneys offer free consultations, so take advantage of them. Ask the attorney how many cases they’ve handled. A good lawyer will also discuss alternatives to bankruptcy, such as credit counseling or debt consolidation. They won’t push you to file bankruptcy just because.
So where can you find qualified attorneys? You can start with the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA) or the American Bar Association. You can also ask for referrals, which you can find through family, friends, neighbors, and social media. Personal recommendations are invaluable. And as always, read reviews from several sources.
Ask About Experience and Expertise
While bankruptcy attorneys do specialize in bankruptcy, not all are created equal. Be sure to ask about the attorney’s experience and expertise, including how many cases they’ve worked on.
Experience is crucial in bankruptcy cases because they are complicated. Something as simple as a misfiled form or missed deadline could throw your case out. With an experienced lawyer, you can feel good knowing your case will be handled with the utmost care and attention.
Also, don’t hesitate to ask the lawyer about their training or background. It’s a great sign if the bankruptcy attorney belongs to the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA), which keeps on top of relevant rulings.
Understand the Fee Schedule
There is no set price that a bankruptcy lawyer should charge. The total cost depends on your financial situation, the complexity of your case, and if you are filing a Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy in NY.
Generally speaking, Chapter 13 bankruptcies cost more than Chapter 7 bankruptcies. Complicated cases cost more, too. Ask about the lawyer’s fee structure and understand what services are included. Bankruptcy costs include court filing fees, credit counseling course fees, and attorney fees.
Assess the Communication Style
You’ll spend much time with your lawyer over the next few weeks and months, so you want to ensure you feel comfortable communicating with them. Compatibility is essential, so you should take advantage of free consultations to get a feel for the attorney.
You must be open and honest with the attorney, and you should feel comfortable telling them about your finances. Keeping secrets will be a dealbreaker. When your lawyer has all the information they need, they can accurately assess your situation. Watch out for bankruptcy mills that handle a lot of cases at once. They can’t give you the attention you deserve, so look for a one-on-one attorney.
Schedule a Bankruptcy Consultation
William Waldner is an experienced bankruptcy attorney in New York. He is a member of the NACBA, the National Association of Chapter Thirteen Trustees, the American Bankruptcy Institute, and the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce. He’s won many awards and has been sought out by various news outlets as a personal finance and credit expert. Schedule your free consultation to learn more about your options for filing bankruptcy.