There is no specific federal or state requirement that an attorney handles your personal bankruptcy case. At first, filing for bankruptcy on your own may seem like a simple way to save money when you are already in dire financial straits. If you are currently having trouble paying your existing bills, you may wonder why you’d want to incur another expense. Unfortunately, many New Yorkers have learned the hard way that it can end up costing significantly more in the long run if you tackle this process without the help of an experienced bankruptcy lawyer.

Why You Need to Speak with an Attorney About Bankruptcy

The complexity and final outcome of a bankruptcy can vary significantly depending on your income, the median income of the specific New York county you live in, how much debt you owe, whether you own any property or businesses, and so on. While skipping a conversation with a bankruptcy attorney is potentially an option for those with few assets, it isn’t A Couple Looking at Bankruptcy Paperworka particularly good option.

Here’s why a bankruptcy attorney is specifically worth the cost: you are going to have questions along the way and will almost certainly run into problems you don’t even know to watch out for yet. Experienced New York bankruptcy attorneys have already dealt with these issues in the past and can advise you on how to proceed.

To prevent serious legal and financial repercussions that can prevent you from getting back on your feet, you should consult an attorney on bankruptcy topics like:

  • Avoiding delays and penalties caused by common bankruptcy mistakes, such as making lump sum payments to individual creditors that may be rejected
  • Going over recent financial moves that can lead to serious legal problems, such as if you transferred assets or property to someone else before filing
  • Whether you will need to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13
  • Undertaking the means test to establish you meet the asset guidelines for Chapter 7 bankruptcy
  • Making adjustments down the line to Chapter 13 repayment plans if your financial circumstances suddenly change
  • Signing up for and completing the legally required credit counseling sessions before and at the end of bankruptcy
  • Which of your specific debts can be discharged through bankruptcy
  • Knowing when you can and can’t discharge student loan debt
  • How bankruptcy may affect any trusts you’ve created to protect assets for family
  • Issues that may arise if you are either married or divorced while seeking to discharge your debts
  • Negotiating a reaffirmation agreement or payment terms and interest rates with creditors
  • Ensuring the automatic stay issued by the court is enforced and creditors stop harassing you when the bankruptcy process formally begins
  • Exempting specific assets like your vehicle or equipment used for business purposes
  • The possibility of keeping your home after going bankrupt
  • Understanding the full tax consequences of filing bankruptcy

Going over these topics with legal counsel is the best way to protect yourself from additional fees if your case is dismissed over simple filing mistakes and you have to start over. A lawyer can ensure you are properly filling out the necessary forms and disclosing assets correctly, while working to protect as much of your nest egg as possible.

Retaining a bankruptcy lawyer can also be a critical part of rebuilding your credit and getting back on your feet financially after the process is completed. Finally, keep in mind that bankruptcy isn’t always the best option. In some situations, an attorney may be able to offer better alternatives to solving financial problems.

Find a Qualified New York Bankruptcy Attorney

Don’t go into this complex and often-frustrating process blind. You need a skilled professional at your side who can help you navigate the difficulties of bankruptcy while advising on the best way to keep your head above water financially.

Are you considering filing for bankruptcy, or have you already begun the process but aren’t sure what to do next? Call the Alatsas Law Firm at 718-233-2903 or use our convenient online contact form to schedule an appointment.