Chapter 7 is the most common type of consumer bankruptcy. It is the most straightforward bankruptcy filing, and is the option of choice for those with no assets. The cost for a chapter 7 filing varies with attorney fees and with the complexity of your particular case.
Some will attempt to file for Chapter 7 without an attorney or through a petition preparation service. We have warned about the dangers of filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy without an attorney (pro se), and about filing through a petition preparer as well: pro se, and petition preparer horror stories.
Basically, filing for bankruptcy without the assistance of an attorney is a bad idea. With your financial life on the line, you need the help of an experienced and licensed professional, and in New York only a licensed attorney from your district may appear with you during the chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings.
So, first thing first, if you are filing for bankruptcy you need an attorney.
Since fees vary widely from one attorney to another, how should one go about choosing a bankruptcy attorney? How will someone know if they are paying too much for their bankruptcy representation? What are the key factors to consider when choosing a bankruptcy attorney?
Well, there are a few important things to know and some important questions to ask when choosing an attorney for a chapter 7 bankruptcy. First, does the attorney specialize in bankruptcy law, and do they have a solid reputation? Does the attorney offer a free bankruptcy consultation? Will the attorney offer a flat fee for the bankruptcy service, or are they working on retainer? What is the flat fee, and is there a flexible payment plan?
So you have found an attorney that specializes in bankruptcy and has a solid reputation. They will offer free consultation, a flat fee and a payment plan if you should need one.
Legal fees for all bankruptcy cases must be reported to the US Trustee who monitors fees and in some cases orders refunds for overpayments of bankruptcy services back to consumers. So there is some protection from being terribly overcharged for your bankruptcy. That being said, costs can still vary widely among law firms for similar bankruptcy filings.
Now, legal fees in New York may vary, and every bankruptcy case is different, but the basic requirements for all chapter 7 filings are the same i.e. every chapter 7 bankruptcy in New York requires a $306 filing fee, the completion of credit counseling, and debtor education courses by the petitioner (you), and a comprehensive credit report and public records search.
The filing fee for a chapter 7 bankruptcy is the same for any attorney in New York. However, the Credit Counseling and Debtor Education courses can vary from $0-$500 each depending on how and where the courses are taken. Some attorneys will charge $500 each for these classes as part of their fee. Other attorneys will provide a mix of options including some free courses, and some online courses ranging from $15-$25 per course- a substantial difference in price for someone in financial distress considering bankruptcy.
In addition to the class work, a comprehensive credit report and public records search is also required prior to a chapter 7 bankruptcy filing. An accurate credit report and public records search is one of the most crucial parts of the bankruptcy petition. The attorney you choose should be using the most up to date and advanced technology to provide an ultra comprehensive 3-bureau credit report as well as a thorough public records search.
Some larger law firms will charge up to $10,000 for consumer chapter 7 bankruptcy filings in New York. The Law Offices of William Waldner on the other hand will offer a free consultation, and then a flat fee for your bankruptcy determined by the specifics of your case. Clients are given affordable, and convenient on-line options for the required credit counseling and debtor education courses, and the comprehensive credit report and public records search are carried out with the most complete process and advanced, “A Suite Solution”, technology.
Clients choosing the Law Offices of William Waldner generally get started with a $500 up front deposit, with the balance to be determined by case specifics and complexity. Occasionally a $500 payment will be enough to actually file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition, but a typical case is from $1000-$4000. The deposit will get things moving immediately. The office will begin taking the calls from your creditors, the comprehensive credit report and public records search will begin,and we will start preparing the chapter 7 bankruptcy petition.
If you live in New York and are interested in a free bankruptcy consultation please call 212-244-2882. The Law Office of William Waldner only practices Bankruptcy Law and is always here to help.
This article is intended for educational purposes only. By reading this article no attorney-client relationship has been created.