The bankruptcy process is often one met with apprehension for more reasons than one. The initial and most widely shared reason for such feelings is due to the public perception of filing for bankruptcy. The media has instilled into the masses that those who file for bankruptcy are broke and looking for a way out, making prospective filers seem as if they are irresponsible with their funds.
Another reason for the unwavering anxiety is being unaware of what the process entails and how to prepare. Bankruptcy — to many — is this massive, life-altering process that is overly complex and likely to take up all of your time and energy. While bankruptcy may be an intricate procedure to go through, you can easily simplify it with the help of a Louisiana bankruptcy attorney.
Choose a Qualified Bankruptcy Attorney
Anyone who believes they can take on a massive legal task like filing for bankruptcy without the help of an attorney is in for a rude awakening. Extensive legal knowledge is necessary to ensure that you do not interrupt the process by submitting incomplete documents or missing strict deadlines. Your attorney is also there to answer any of your pressing inquiries and keep you abreast of the status of your bankruptcy. With your attorney playing a significant role in the success of your case, it’s essential that you’re meticulous when selecting a bankruptcy lawyer.
What to Look for in a Bankruptcy Attorney
Deciding to have legal representation is only the first step. The next is choosing an attorney who you believe to be the best fit for you and most capable of managing your case. Here are a few things to look out for:
A Bankruptcy Expert
Your lawyer should consider himself a legal expert in managing bankruptcies. One key indicator of a bankruptcy expert is a lawyer whose primary practice area is bankruptcy, rather than it being one of many.. The individual should also have experience managing both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies so that he can help you determine which is best for you.
Like when forming any relationship, whether it be professional or personal, you want to find someone who you are comfortable with. If you feel as if the attorney is judging your circumstance rather than helping you move forward, you may want to look into meeting with another attorney. The reason being is that you will be in close contact with this person for some time to come, and the better you two can work together, the more efficient the process can be.
The last thing you want to do is find yourself becoming just another client. This is the case at many bankruptcy mills where they churn clients in and out while paying little attention to the specific cases. A fundamental way to identify if you are in a bankruptcy mill is if your initial consultation is not with an attorney, but rather a paralegal. Many large law firms have paralegals do intake and prepare key documents. Acquire an attorney is there for you from beginning to end and willing to give your case the specialized attention it deserves.
Gather Documents for Your Attorney
Once you settle on an attorney who meets your standards, it is now time to do your part in ensuring that the bankruptcy process goes uninterrupted. One way you can do so is by preparing the necessary documents for your attorney. In addition to proof of identification, you’ll need the following documents to file for bankruptcy:
Your finance records should be some of the first you collect and organize. The information in these records can help determine if you should pursue Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy as well as allow you to identify and clear up any discrepancies before filing. These documents include your most recent:
- Bank statements
- Creditor bills
- Payment coupons for student loans, real estate, and vehicles
- Invoices and bills
- Pay stubs
- Household expenses
You will want to also disclose any legal history or pending litigation with your attorney. Previous unfavorable rulings can explain your financial standing, while a current court order or ongoing litigation can help determine how much you may be able to pay creditors. These legal records include:
- Previous litigation files
- Files from previous attorneys
- Divorce decree
- Any court orders that require you to pay maintenance or child support
Your “other documents” identify assets and help establish an income level. Your attorney can use this information to the benefit of your bankruptcy. A few of these documents include:
- Last three tax returns
- Vehicle titles
- Insurance policies
- Correspondence with creditors (final notices, threat letters, etc.)
- Lease or mortgage
- Signed promissory notes
- Documents that show you owe other people
- Documents that show other people owe you
Louisiana residents considering bankruptcy should look no further than E. Orum Young Law Offices. We have filed over 20,000 bankruptcies in Northeast Louisiana and continue to help ailed consumers free themselves from the grips of debt. We host a diverse staff of attorneys with extensive legal experience who are ready and willing to help see you through a successful bankruptcy process. Contact us today for a free case evaluation. Our Trial Guarantee ensures that we will take your case to trial per your request.