There are a few different reasons to file for Chapter 13. Probably the first one is if you are not qualifying for the Chapter 7.
Jan. 12, 2023
How Do You Advise Clients that Are Anxious About Filing for Bankruptcy?
The main approach in the free consultation is I want to make sure that I give the person I am meeting with enough information that they can make an informed choice on how they want to resolve their debt situation and if they want to file for bankruptcy. In order to do that, I need to get some information about their situation so I can potentially flag anything that might cause issues in their bankruptcy case or might otherwise not work as well as they might want them to. When they are given the options they are able to make a rational choice of what is best for them in their particular situation.
Usually when you are hiring an attorney, it is because something not so wonderful is happening in your life. There are a few exceptions to that. If your business is doing very well and you need to hire a business attorney or an adoption attorney or something like that, but most often, you need an attorney when something is going wrong. That can cause a lot of emotions. I can lay out all the legal stuff for you. I can deal with laying it out for you and make it make sense. But there is also that emotional aspect. When I started practicing bankruptcy law, I started at one of the largest bankruptcy law firms in Minnesota.
They were so busy because they had so many people coming in to meet with attorneys that they really put a premium on having your consultations last no more than 30 minutes. It is very difficult to get all the relevant information from your situation and to be able to lay out all your options and give you pros and cons within that 30 minute limit. You are running through all of your questions as fast as you can and you have to get through the necessary stuff.
When I created Atlas Law Firm, I wanted to make sure I took a different approach. I really felt bad working at that large firm when somebody walked out the door with the retainer in their hand and I could tell they did not have an opportunity to really tell their story. It is important that when you take the time to walk into a stranger’s office, and basically give them the nitty-gritty details of your financial life and this debt mess that you find yourself in, it is important that you are able to explain what has happened, and why you are sitting in my office today.
I want to make sure that at Atlas Law Firm, we take the time to let people talk through that with us because it is important to get that off your chest. “Hey, I have always paid my debts on time and I really feel bad about being here but I don’t really see any other options available to me. Last year, I had a 760 credit score.” I cannot tell you how often that comes up. That is another sign that people pay their debt when they can pay their debt, and then something awful happens.
It is important to me that at Atlas Law Firm, we make sure that we listen to people’s situations and listen to what their concerns are. It is important to know what a person’s goals are so that we can give them the tools they need in order to make an informed choice. If you are just running through the very minimum script of where do you live and what do you own and have you sold anything, you are not providing that person the opportunity to fully address their concerns going forward.
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The three common triggers for bankruptcy are unemployment, medical expenses, and divorce. Unemployment can trigger bankruptcy, which is pretty straightforward.
The trustee has a duty to conduct due diligence, and that basically means reviewing the documents that are filed by the debtor and then holding a hearing called a Section 341 hearing in which the trustee asks some standard questions of the debtor.