It's important to ask your bankruptcy lawyers questions.
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If you're plagued by debt that you just can’t manage, filing for bankruptcy may be the best option for you. But before you make a decision this important, you need to talk to a professional. A reputable North Carolina bankruptcy attorney will offer you a free consultation and will look at your income, expenses and debts and tell you if bankruptcy is a viable option for you and make recommendations on how to proceed.
This initial free appointment is an opportunity for you to ask questions and get the answers you need to get the best results for your circumstances. We always encourage our clients to ask any and all questions they may have. Here are some of the common questions we are often asked:
1. Which Type of Bankruptcy is Right for Me?
There are two types of personal bankruptcy options available to you - Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. A chapter 7 will liquidate your unsecured debts (with a few exceptions) but not your mortgage or car loan. This is better for those who just have too many debts to deal with. Chapter 13 is better for those with a steady income that just need some breathing room to get reorganized. You will also usually be able to have some of your unsecured debts discharged.
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2. What Information Do You Need from Me?
At the least, you'll need to bring in your paystubs and copies of your bills and what you owe. Proof of expenses such as mortgage or rent receipts, utility bills, most recent income tax return and, if you pay alimony or child support, you’ll need to bring those court orders or decrees with you. You may not need all of these for your initial appointment, but if you decide to go ahead and file, you’ll have the required documents on hand.
3. Will My Stuff be Safe in the Bankruptcy?
All of your “stuff” – your personal belongings, TV, computers, furniture, etc – should be exempted from the bankruptcy proceedings. If you own a car free and clear or have a car loan with low equity, this should be okay. Significant assets owned free and clear or with high equity such as real estate, jewelry or high dollar artwork may become part of the assets that the Trustee can access. Each state has different property exemptions. Click here to read North Carolina’s. Be honest with your attorney and don’t try to hide any assets so they can give you the best possible advice and help you protect what you own!
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4. What are the Pros and Cons of Bankruptcy?
This has to be answered in the context of your particular circumstances. The answer will be based on how much debt you have, what your assets are and whether or not you are employed and your income level. Once you provide all of your information to your attorney, they will be able to tell you the pros and cons of each of the bankruptcy chapters and how each will affect you and which is likely the better alternative.
5. How Much Does It Cost to File Bankruptcy?
Attorney fees vary by state and by individual attorney. They will also vary depending on which chapter of bankruptcy you choose. At your appointment, once you choose which type of bankruptcy you prefer, your attorney will be able to tell you exactly what the charges are. Part of the charges will be court costs which include filing fees and the other costs are to compensate the attorney for preparing your paperwork, filing it and for representing you in your meeting of creditors and at your other court dates.
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6. How Will I Pay My Fees? Are There Any Options?
Depending on which type of bankruptcy you choose - chapter 7 vs chapter 13 – there will be different options for payment. Our office offers a couple of different and very affordable options to get you the bankruptcy relief you need. We have a $99 per month plan and a $0 down plan. We can explain these to you at your appointment. We want to help and can be flexible on payments.
7. What Problems Can Arise?
The main risk of filing bankruptcy is having your petition denied. But if you are completely honest with your attorney about what you owe, what you own and what you earn, there should be no problems with your bankruptcy filing and it should go off without a hitch. We don’t recommend trying to proceed with a bankruptcy without a lawyer – this is the most common source of bankruptcy problems. But by using a reputable North Carolina bankruptcy attorney like John T Orcutt, you will get the debt relief you need. Call us now for a free consultation!