When You Should Hire a Bankruptcy Attorney

A Guide to Determine If You Need Legal Help for Debt Relief

One of the most important decisions of your personal or business financial life is trying to determine when a debt relief solution requires legal expertise. Dealing with debt is exceptionally stressful, so trying to make an effective choice might be blurred by stress and the overwhelming feelings that come from bills, calls from collectors, and a sea of paperwork.

The experiences of others who have been in your situation can help you determine whether you can handle debt relief on your own, or whether you should hire a bankruptcy attorney to represent your case. Hearing from those with experience can empower you to make this difficult decision by answering a few questions for yourself.

Our guide can help you get a better understanding of whether an attorney is right for your particular situation.

When Collectors Are Threatening to Sue

If your debt has become insurmountable – meaning you’re taking on more and more debt each month, and trying to pay for your personal or business basics, like utilities, supplies, or groceries, with credit cards, or maybe your credit cards are maxed out – then you might find that debt collectors aren’t just calling and sending letters. Something more urgent is happening.

If debt collectors have ramped up their efforts to collect on past debts and are now threatening litigation, you may be particularly concerned about whether you should hire a bankruptcy attorney. Your assets are at stake, real legal action is involved, and you want to come away from your conflict with these collectors with the best possible outcome for yourself.

Can You Handle This Debt Situation Yourself?

Possibly. There are options for debt settlement, and you can weigh each solution’s pros and cons. The viability of these options usually depends on how much debt you’re holding, whether you have the time and energy to pursue such a settlement, and if there is a satisfactory agreement that will work for you and your creditor (which, at this point, will likely benefit the creditor more so than the debtor).

Bankruptcy is a Legal Settlement Option

Among the options for debt settlement, bankruptcy is a highly cost-effective legal solution that will protect you from creditors. When you file for bankruptcy, the court will stay your debts, and your collectors’ threats and actions against you will cease. You can then determine what form of bankruptcy you elect to pursue, Chapter 7 or 13.

However, keep in mind that when you file for bankruptcy, you risk losing assets you hold dear. These can sometimes include your residence or vehicle.

Can You File For Bankruptcy Yourself?

Deciding what form of bankruptcy to pursue is in itself a decision that requires legal and financial knowledge to make the right determination. And while you may be aware that bankruptcy is your next step, you are likely worried about what that means for your future, what has happened to others who’ve experienced it, and who you can go to for reassurance.

If you are particularly informed about the law and your financial situation, you may consider representing yourself. However, keep in mind that a highly substantial majority of people and businesses who have filed for bankruptcy successfully are represented by an attorney.

Do some research online about what it will take to represent yourself pro se. Again, if you’re someone who has particular savvy in legal and financial matters, this is an option, albeit a risky one.

Hiring an Attorney or Going It Alone

As we’ve mentioned above, you could potentially go it alone, do the research, and develop a bankruptcy strategy that will benefit you as significantly as possible. However, if you’ve been following along, and your personal or business debt situation reminds you of what’s been stated – collectors are threatening to sue, other debt relief options don’t seem viable, and you don’t think you can determine what kind of legal solution would best fit your circumstances – having legal advice is recommended.

We understand that connecting with an attorney and uttering the word “bankruptcy” can bring up a sense of shame or uncertainty. This doesn’t have to be the case. An excellent attorney is there as a guide, as counsel, and as someone who wants to ensure you get the best possible outcome. They also have the expertise to navigate the sometimes challenging waters that the legal system poses, especially where finances are involved.

Do Your Research

Just as in any other difficult situation, you don’t have to go it alone. Consider doing some research on your prospective attorney’s success rate with bankruptcy cases. Their track record and the understanding you get when meeting with a legal team will help you make your determination.

Additionally, consultations with a bankruptcy attorney are typically at no cost to you, so you can get a sense of who you’re working with and what kind of solution they can provide, just as you would with any other debt solution. And, importantly, you now have someone who’s on your team, who is there to listen to your concerns, and can guide you to a more optimistic future.

The Decision Is Yours

Filing for bankruptcy is a confusing and lengthy process. If you want the best possible outcome, it is wise to hire an experienced bankruptcy attorney to guide you through.