Red Flags that You Have Hired the Wrong Bankruptcy Attorney
Hiring the right attorney to represent you is probably the single most important task any debtor must make when considering bankruptcy. If you are like most people, you probably don’t know any lawyers, in particular bankruptcy lawyers. You might have picked a name out of the phone book or scribbled down the phone number for a lawyer advertising on TV.
Unfortunately, some people choose the wrong lawyer and leave the bankruptcy process incredibly frustrated. If you notice any of these red flags, choose a different bankruptcy attorney as soon as possible.
The Attorney Encourages You to Lie on Your Bankruptcy Petition
When filing for bankruptcy, you need to list your income, as well as assets and debts. An unethical bankruptcy attorney will encourage you to lie to qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, or to leave assets off the schedules so that the trustee cannot find them. Remember that you file your bankruptcy paperwork under penalty of perjury, and you can be prosecuted for bankruptcy fraud if you lie.
Your Bankruptcy Lawyer Encourages You to Take on More Debt
Bankruptcy usually eliminates all unsecured debts, like credit card debts. As a result, some people are tempted to run up large debts right before filing. However, the bankruptcy code defines as fraudulent certain debts incurred right before bankruptcy:
- More than $675 in luxury items in the 90 days before filing for bankruptcy. Luxury items are typically any non-essential item like jewelry, computers, cosmetics, vacation expenses, and recreational vehicles. It would not include groceries, gas, and moderately-priced clothes.
- More than $950 in cash advances within 70 days of filing for bankruptcy.
If a lawyer encourages you to make these purchases—or doesn’t say anything once you tell him of your plans—then you are not dealing with a good bankruptcy lawyer.
Your Bankruptcy Lawyer Doesn’t Ask about Your Financial Goals
Bankruptcy is not for everyone. For example, you might hope to take out a loan soon. If so, you might choose to delay filing for bankruptcy (if you can afford to). Alternately, you might choose to forego bankruptcy because your major debts cannot be discharged because they are secured debts or exempt under the bankruptcy code.
Furthermore, many consumers have different options about which bankruptcy to file, whether a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13. Before you can decide which one to pick, you need to carefully analyze your debts and assets, while paying attention to the different protections each bankruptcy affords.
A good bankruptcy lawyer should ask your financial goals instead of immediately pressuring you into filing for bankruptcy. If the lawyer doesn’t, then you should consider hiring someone else instead.
Your Lawyer Never Returns Your Calls
Lawyers owe their clients an ethical duty to keep them informed. If you never hear from your lawyer, then it will be difficult for you to understand what is going on and meet your own obligations. Consumer bankruptcies are relatively uncomplicated, especially compared to criminal or civil trials. However, you still need updates about important meetings. You might also have questions, even after your lawyer has filed bankruptcy for you. A lawyer who is too busy to call you back might be someone who is careless in the work they do.
Searching for a Florida Bankruptcy Lawyer? Call Nowack & Olson Now