How Much Does Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Cost
File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy for No Money Down From $599
You can file Chapter 7 bankruptcy for no money down from $599. Even if you do not have any money to even pay the filing fee, you can still file a bankruptcy today. If you need to stop a garnishment, or a lawsuit, bankruptcy stops the garnishment immediately. There is no reason you cannot stop a garnishment right away, today, before it takes any more of your hard earned money.
The total cost of the Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be as low as $599. Additionally, there is a filing fee of $335 to the bankruptcy court. Of course, many things can determine the final cost of your chapter 7 bankruptcy. Let's take a look at a few of them.
Do you want the bankruptcy petition prepared by an attorney or a paralegal?
This is the major question when deciding how much the bankruptcy will actually cost in the end. A lot of attorneys will charge for attorney representation, and then let the paralegal do all of the work. You should be clear on who is actually representing you. Here is the difference:
- Bankruptcy Petition Document Preparation by a Paralegal - Paralegals can be an invaluable source for attorneys. A paralegal can draft all of the documents that the attorney needs to file. However, if the paralegal is doing all of the work, why do you need to pay the attorney? Good point! Having a paralegal prepare your bankruptcy petition can save you a lot of money. However, the paralegal is not supposed to give you any legal advice. There are a lot of pitfalls in bankruptcy that can cost you a lot of money. An improper exemption citation or attempting to file a chapter bankruptcy for which you do not qualify can ruin your day. In most cases, this will not be an issue. However, you do not want to be the one case that gets ruined. Using a paralegal can be a really good bargain, but there is some risk involved.
- Bankruptcy Petition Prepared by a Bankruptcy Attorney - A bankruptcy lawyer (or bankruptcy attorney, they are the same thing) can give advice about the law and how it relates to your specific facts. If there are things that may cause issues for you, the bankruptcy attorney can explain them. The bankruptcy paralegal is not supposed to. The paralegal may or may not know more than the attorney, but without the law license, the paralegal is supposed to stick to the task of typing. There are some other benefits in hiring a bankruptcy lawyer. The lawyer can actually appear with you at the creditor meeting. This amounts to little more than a physical presence because you have to answer all of the questions anyway, but it still might be comforting.
Do you want someone to attend the trustee meeting (also known as the 341 Meeting, meeting of creditors, or 341 hearing) with you?
This meeting, or hearing, sounds like a lot more than what it is. It is easy to get uneasy when you are told you have to go to a court hearing. However, this is no ordinary court hearing. This is more of a meeting, and barely even that. This meeting is not even held in a real courtroom. The meeting is held in a meeting room, usually at the courthouse. Six people are scheduled for each half-hour meeting. That means you get five minutes. Essentially, this is a chance for the bankruptcy trustee to see your driver's license, or other ID, and make sure you are the person filing the document. This is also an opportunity for any of the creditors to show up. They never do. Even if a creditor does show up, they cannot just cry about life being unfair and ask that you be forced to pay. They can ask you questions. That's it. There is no judge to rule on anything anyway. It is very informal, and it is really not worth your worry or concern.
So what does an attorney do at a 341 meeting? Not much. A lawyer will usually have a nice tie, and announce that they are there to represent you, but the lawyer cannot answer any questions. You have to answer the questions whether you have a lawyer there or not. Your lawyer might sit next to you, and your lawyer might explain the question, but that is it. Having a lawyer at the meeting is just for your peace of mind, but let's not discount that. A hearing creates a lot of anxiety. Having a person there to direct you what to do can be very valuable. In fact, the price of having a lawyer there is not much. If you are feeling any anxiety, it is probably worth the cost to have a lawyer with you.
Do you have assets that will require pre-bankruptcy planning?
One of the most beneficial reasons to hire a bankruptcy attorney is the review of your case. The property you get to keep in bankruptcy is defined as exemptions. Sometimes, property is not exempt. That means you might have to do something with the property before filing bankruptcy in order to exempt the property. For example, if you have a car that is paid off and is worth over $6000, you have an exemption problem. In this case, you might want to take a title loan against the car and spend down the money before filing bankruptcy. You might want to consider selling the car for value, but not transferring the title to a friend or family member for free. A bankruptcy attorney can give you this advice, a paralegal cannot. Or, what do you do with a tax return? Will the court take it? If you receive a tax return, what do you do with the cash. The cash exemption is only $300. You should not give it to a friend, but you might be able to pay your rent or mortgage ahead. A bankruptcy lawyer would be better able to tell you what to do with property that is not exempt.
In any event, whatever you choose, you can still file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy for no money down, and start getting your life in order today. Whether you decide to rough it without a bankruptcy lawyer, or use one of our experienced bankruptcy attorneys, today is the day to get your life back.
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