Personal bankruptcy is when an individual files for bankruptcy. This is contrasted with commercial or business bankruptcy, which is filed by a business organization. Personal bankruptcy is also called “consumer bankruptcy,” and generally has to do with a person’s debt due to spending.
In most cases, people file personal bankruptcy in order to wipe out their debts and obtain a fresh financial start. While this may have some negative short-term effects on credit, filing for bankruptcy can be helpful in the long run.
What Issues Do Personal Bankruptcy Attorneys Handle?
A personal bankruptcy lawyer may be in charge of many different tasks and responsibilities when it comes to bankruptcy filings. When hiring a personal bankruptcy lawyer, the lawyer might be expected to:
- Help inform the client of their filing options (for instance, explaining the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy options)
- Collect, organize, and review different paperwork and documents
- Represent the client during oral interviews and court meetings
- Research relevant bankruptcy laws that might affect the client’s claim
- Identify and address possible issues with fraud or misrepresentation
- Various other tasks
As mentioned, filing for personal bankruptcy is much different than filing for commercial or business bankruptcy. If you need to file for commercial bankruptcy, a different type of attorney may be needed, particularly one who specializes in business filings.
Advice for Hiring a Personal Bankruptcy Attorney
When hiring a personal bankruptcy attorney, be sure to:
- Check the background, certification, and state bar licensing info of any attorney you might be interested in working with
- Let them know if you’ve filed for bankruptcy before in the past; you generally need to wait a certain number of years before you can file again once you’ve filed
- Ask the attorney any questions that might be relevant to your bankruptcy filing
- Be open and honest when explaining your financial situation to them
- Let them know if there are any additional legal issues that they should be aware about (like tax issues, non-dischargeable debt, property liens, etc.)
Taking these steps can help ensure that your attorney will be the right match for you. Many conflicts of interest can be avoided through careful consideration when hiring an attorney.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Personal Bankruptcy Issues?
Personal bankruptcy can often be a long process that requires much attention to detail. You may need to hire a qualified personal bankruptcy lawyer in your area if you need help filing a case. You lawyer can provide you with legal advice, research, and information to help you with your bankruptcy claim. Also, if you need to make an appearance in court or at a meeting, your attorney can represent you during those times.