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How can an attorney benefit people who are going through a bankruptcy?

People may choose to handle bankruptcy filings on their own, but there are numerous advantages to working with a lawyer to regain control of their finances.

The loss of a job, a change in wages and any other number of factors may cause financial issues for people in Alabama, and elsewhere. When faced with overwhelming debt, some may consider seeking bankruptcy protection. Although people may choose to handle their chapter 7 cases themselves, there are a number of advantages to working with a bankruptcy attorney.

Determining the right chapter

There are two bankruptcy filing options for individuals and couples, chapter 7 and chapter 13. Attorneys who focus their practice on this type of debt relief understand the differences between the two options. Therefore, they are able to explain them to their clients and help them decide which bankruptcy chapter is right for them and their situation.

Understanding the eligibility requirements

When seeking chapter 7 bankruptcy relief, there are certain eligibility requirements that people must meet. According to the U.S. Courts, in order to qualify for this option, people are subject to the means test. Further, they cannot have had a previous case dismissed for certain circumstances within 180 days of their filings. Bankruptcy attorneys understand the eligibility requirements for chapter 7 bankruptcy, as well as the emergency exceptions. As such, they are able to help ensure their clients meet the requirements before initiating the legal process.

Knowledge of court procedures

There is more to the bankruptcy filing process than just submitting a petition to the court. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Alabama points out that people who are filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy must include statements of their financial affairs and current monthly income. Further, they must provide a certificate of credit counseling, a list of their creditors, and a summary of their liabilities and assets. Lawyers who handle bankruptcy cases are familiar with the court procedures and filing requirements. They may draw on this knowledge to guarantee that their clients are in compliance, so that they do not face any preventable issues with their filings.

Dealing with the trustee

After a chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, a trustee is appointed to people’s cases by the court. According to the U.S. Courts, the primary responsibility of the trustees is to liquidate the nonexempt assets of filers, and the trustees will also hold a meeting of the creditors. In some cases, the trustee may have questions or ask for additional information. Legal representatives are typically familiar with this information and may help make certain their clients correctly complete their bankruptcy paperwork.

Making decisions for the future

Filing for bankruptcy may provide much needed relief for people throughout Alabama. However, there may be significant, lasting effects to this debt relief option. Therefore, it may be of benefit for those who are struggling with debt to consider seeking legal representation. An attorney may help them to understand their options, determine the best course of action given their circumstances and guide them through the legal process.

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Gregory C. Starkey, Attorney at Law

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