With today’s economy and a vast number of people hurting financially, the search for a “cheap bankruptcy attorney” is on the rise. Although Omaha and the metro area missed a lot of the early months of the great recession, it has finally caught up to Nebraska and Iowa.
Understandably, people needing to file bankruptcy are looking for the best deal possible. A while back, I wrote a blog about the cost of filing bankruptcy and, in particular, what to look for when you are searching for a cheap bankruptcy lawyer and how to avoid being a victim of substandard services and gimmicks. That advice remains very important today and people needing bankruptcy services should be very careful when selecting their attorney and law firm. However, there are practical steps that a person can take to meaningfully reduce the cost of their bankruptcy and, at the same time, increase the speed and ultimate successful outcome of their bankruptcy proceeding.
Five (5) helpful tips to reduce the cost of filing bankruptcy
- Get your necessary documents organized and sorted. One of the most important factors regarding the cost of filing bankruptcy is obtaining adequate documentation from the debtor. Thus, if you have all of your necessary documents ready to go, your bankruptcy lawyer will be in a much better position to offer a discount of some level because it will take him or her (and the support staff) less time to prepare everything properly.
- Be completely honest with your attorney. Seasoned bankruptcy attorneys and other bankruptcy professionals (including the judges and trustees) are very good at figuring out financial dealings. They should be because that is all they do. But, piecing together a legal jigsaw puzzle takes time and more legal time results in higher costs. Therefore, to keep your bankruptcy costs down, lay out your entire situation right from the beginning so that your attorney can put together the correct strategy and procedures from the start.
- Move quickly to assemble the necessary information and other requirements. Filing bankruptcy is like taking a picture of a moving train. What is true today may not be true tomorrow and, of course, situations change. For example, if a person qualifies for Chapter 7 right now, he or she may not qualify (due to changes in income or the law) in a month or so. Getting a bankruptcy filed sooner rather than later (when a possible crises occurs) keeps the costs down because there is less tracking and updating required for the attorney. This results in lower fees.
- Take time to understand the bankruptcy process. Educating yourself about the bankruptcy process by reading all of the information that your attorney provides to you and by reading this website. The more knowledgeable you are about the process, the better the process will go and the cheaper the case will be.
- Keep track of deadlines, legal requirements and court dates. By keeping track of your deadlines and requirements, your case will proceed much smoother and efficiently. By being timely with the various deadlines that are everywhere in the bankruptcy world, you will absolutely save on attorney fees.
Making sense of bankruptcy legal fees and finding the best deal possible
The above five tips are critical to keeping the cost of filing bankruptcy as low as possible. Bankruptcy attorneys assess each case individually based on how much time they believe it will take to accomplish the goals of their client. Some cases are just inherently more complicated than others (like small business bankruptcies), but not all cases are that way. The overall goal is to keep your costs down by doing a lot of the legwork necessary for a bankruptcy case to go smoothly yourself.