What Should I Expect To Happen When I Meet With A Bankruptcy Attorney
Bankruptcy lawyers differ in how they approach the initial consultation. In my office, I ask my new clients to fill out a simple form, asking for some basic information about their financial situation. I then sit down with them, and review their financial situation in detail. I believe that it is important to consider both the immediate reason why someone has consulted a bankruptcy lawyer, and their overall financial situation, before recommending any course of action.
The options individuals with financial problems might consider vary greatly. In general these might include defending against the claim or lawsuit, debt settlement (offering a lump sum in satisfaction of the debt), Payment plans, Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, and Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.
After reviewing these options, I will offer one or more options for how you might proceed.
If this is your first meeting with a lawyer, you should know that what you say to your lawyer is, in most circumstances, completely confidential. It is important to be honest with your bankruptcy attorney: the advice he provides is based on the information you give to him!
What Information is Needed For My First Meeting With a Bankruptcy Attorney?
For the initial consultation, I don’t need to see all of your bills, but I will ask for some information about any secured debts – things like mortgages, or car loans. Secured loans are treated differently than other debts in bankruptcy, and usually involve things such as your home, which is important to you. For other debts – things such as credit cards, personal loans, or medical bills – I will want to know the total amount that you owe. I will ask for the approximate amount of monthly household income. For assets that you own, I will want to know the approximate value.
If you decide to file a bankruptcy petition, I will give you a worksheet that asks for much more detailed and accurate information, and sit down with you to go over it during our second meeting.
If you are being sued, have a mortgage foreclosure against you, were divorced with a separation agreement, or have any other legal documents that you think might be important, you should bring them with you to the consultation.
Will There Be a Charge for the Initial Bankruptcy Consultation?
I charge a $125 consultation fee, and wrote a blog post explaining why: Why Lawyers Charge for A Consultation.
There is no charge for clients referred to me from Hyatt Legal Plans, or an employee assistance plan such as CLC.