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Should I Hire a Bankruptcy Attorney?

A person certainly has the right to file a bankruptcy case on their own without hiring a lawyer. While you might save a little money right now, the truth is that filing bankruptcy on your own could also end up costing you much more later on down the road.

The fees an attorney may charge can depend on the type of bankruptcy you are attempting to file (usually Chapter 7 or Chapter 13), but you will also have to pay filing fees with or without a bankruptcy lawyer. You should also know that every bankruptcy case is assigned a trustee to oversee the entire bankruptcy process, and a trustee has the power to order an attorney to refund a client any fees that they deem excessive.

Reasons to Hire a Bankruptcy Lawyer

When you are considering filing bankruptcy in Michigan, an attorney is going to be able to offer many different kinds of assistance. Some of the most significant advantages of retaining legal counsel include, but are not limited to:

  • Alternatives to Bankruptcy — Bankruptcy is not necessarily the right option for everyone, and a lawyer will be able to tell you if you have better options to achieve financial relief.
  • Knowing Which Type to File For — Most people will be filing either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases, but you will want an attorney’s help determining which chapter better suits your case.
  • Property Valuation — Your case will likely involve multiple personal property considerations, and a lawyer will know how to accurately gauge the value of that property.
  • Understanding Exemptions — The average person has no knowledge of exemptions in bankruptcy cases, so an attorney will be incredibly important for identifying all possible exemptions applicable to your case.
  • Negotiating with Creditors — You have probably dealt with your creditors enough, so a lawyer can take over dealing with them and also help get better terms for repayment of secured debts or make other arrangements.

On top of all this, your attorney will be able to walk you through the entire bankruptcy process, so you do not have to handle anything alone. In addition to helping you with the bankruptcy means test that will be required in any Chapter 7 case, they can also adjust Chapter 13 repayment plans.

Benefits of Legal Representation by the Numbers

Only about one in every 25 people (4 percent) with legal representation has a Chapter 7 discharge denied, while one out of three who handle it on their own (more than 33 percent of people filing on their own) are unable to receive a discharge.

Only about one in every 50 people (2 percent) filing for Chapter 13 on their own will receive a discharge, the odds increase to 40 percent when you hire a lawyer.

Call Us Today to Speak with a Rochester Bankruptcy Attorney

Karen E. Evangelista is a Rochester bankruptcy lawyer with more than three decades of experience who also served as the president of the Consumer Bankruptcy Association and clerked for two different bankruptcy judges before becoming a Chapter 7 trustee. You can schedule a free consultation with her when you call our office today at (248) 652- 7990 or use our online contact form.


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