What Are The Advantages Of Filing Bankruptcy With An Attorney?

If you file bankruptcy with an attorney, you’re going to get assistance throughout the process. Your attorney is going to know exactly what needs to be done with your case. This all starts with the very first consultation. The attorney is going to be able to interview you, advise you, and notify you of potential issues with your case. If you are trying to file bankruptcy on your own, you are not even going to be aware of specific issues that you need to be aware of. For example, your attorney is going to be looking for assets much in the same way that the chapter 7 trustee is going to be looking for assets. Your attorney wants to make sure that you have a smooth and efficient chapter 7 case. For that reason, your attorney is going to make sure that if you have any assets that can be administered, then you are made aware of those assets, and will provide you opportunities and advice on how to protect those assets prior to filing. If you are going it alone, you will not likely know exactly what assets are potentially exposed and which assets are protected.

Your attorney will be able to guide you through the necessary steps of the process. The attorney will make sure that you have completed the credit counseling session prior to the actual case being filed. The attorney will make sure that you complete the two hour financial management class prior to the case going to discharge. The attorney will also make sure that your trustee receives your pay advices, taxes, and any other requested documentation at the proper address, email address or in person. If you go it alone, you are not likely to know how that trustee wants the information provided. If the required documents and information is not provided timely, then your 341 court date might not be held and a future date will have to be scheduled. By having an attorney represent you, you are guaranteed that the information that you provide will be sent to the trustee in a manner for which the trustee requests.

If an issue should arise in your case that requires court action, an attorney is much better equipped to handle that issue then you yourself. In the most simplest of cases, individuals have successfully navigated through the bankruptcy process. However, it’s always best to have competent, experienced representation working on your behalf. There are certain situations where your attorney will know how to handle that you would not know how to handle. This starts right at the beginning of the case with determining whether or not there are assets that are exposed, all the way to the end of the case such as determining whether a particular debt is discharged or not.

Prior to the bankruptcy laws changing in 2005, it was much more common for someone in a simple case to represent himself. Since the law change, the complexity has gone sky high with regard to filing even simple chapter 7 bankruptcy cases. For that reason, I strongly recommend that you use an experienced bankruptcy attorney to assist you with obtaining a fresh start. The money that you spend on a bankruptcy attorney is money well spent.

This is the case study for Courtney Keeley who comes to me from Gurnee Illinois regarding a chapter 7 bankruptcy consultation. Ms. Keeley has never filed for bankruptcy before. She is not a homeowner. She is renting from her landlord and she has a monthly lease which expires in July. In terms of vehicles, she owns a 2005 Chrysler Pacifica which is financed through Mount Zion credit union. There is a co-debtor on that vehicle, the monthly payment is $309, and the approximate balance to pay off the debt is $4300. She also has a 2013 Dodge journey, financed through excelsior finance with an approximate monthly payment of $510. There is no equity in that vehicle and she is not sure yet whether or not she wants to reaffirm the debt and keep it going forward.

In terms of property and assets she has a checking account and a savings account at Chase bank with an approximate balance of $750. Her security deposit with her landlord is $1395. In terms of household goods such as TV, furniture, audio, etc., she has approximately $1000 worth of value. She has normal clothing and jewelry which amounts to approximately $500. She does have a term life insurance policy which is completely protected under Illinois exemption laws with a death benefit only of approximately $10,000. She can keep that term life policy through the bankruptcy and beyond. She has a very small 403(b) pension or profit sharing plan with a value of approximately $800. She is expecting a tax refund with a sizable $5200 forthcoming. She is separated and she has three minor children ages 17, 12, and nine. She is a teacher at the Zion school district and has been doing such for the past 10 years with an annual income of approximately $55,000 per year. If you look at her monthly income and her monthly expenses she is actually slightly negative.

Her rent is $1395, her electric and gas is $150, her cellular phone bill was $300, her home phone is $250, her food budget is $250, a clothing allowance of $100, her laundry and dry cleaning is $50. She also has transportation cost of $180 per month, recreational expenses of $60 per month and automobile insurance at $160 per month. Her auto payments for the two vehicles amount to $820 per month. As you can see her monthly expenses exceed her monthly income slightly. Over the past three years she has made approximately 55,000 during those years. She has not made any payment over $1000 to a particular creditor within the last 90 days. She has not closed any bank accounts within the last year nor has she given away anything of significant value in the last year. She has not sold or transferred any real estate the last four years and she has not owned a business in the last four years. She does have a co-debtor on the vehicle. In terms of student loans, she has a Salle Mae debt of $30,000 as well as a Department of Education debt in the amount of $10,000. The items that typically have Courtney in debt other than her vehicle debt and student loan debt is excessive credit card debt.  Her credit cards amount to approximately $35,000 and cover for different credit cards. Based on what I see, I would recommend a chapter 7 bankruptcy filing to eliminate the credit card debt. I would also make a decision with regard to the vehicles. It may be that Courtney can get by with one financed vehicle instead of two. The student loan debts will remain after chapter 7 bankruptcy is complete. So I would strongly recommend a chapter 7 fresh start bankruptcy for Courtney from Gurnee, Illinois.

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