Can a Bankruptcy Attorney Help?

Many attorneys are considered "ambulance chasers." However, with the rising rates of personal bankruptcy filings, bankruptcy attorneys have been aggressively building their client lists, making a dime in whatever way possible when, for the most part, many bankruptcy filers can complete the paperwork themselves or with the help of a debt agency.

Does this mean that bankruptcy attorneys offer no, or little value to the prospective bankrupt? Not necessarily. In some cases where Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 options make more sense that debt settlement or debt repayment, bankruptcy attorneys can offer some value. Here are three instances in which bankruptcy attorneys are actually worth their pay:

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1. Your debt collectors continue to hound you after you have filed for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy or you have asked them to stop contacting you. Unfortunately, some credit collection agencies do not like to play by the rules. This can be for a variety of reasons. However, if you have filed for bankruptcy protection, your collectors are obligated to stop harassing you. If, in addition to your filing, you have further notified them that you have filed for bankruptcy and they continue to hound you, legal representation will not only alleviate the pressures of debt collection agencies calling, but you may be able to strike back where it hurts them the most.

2. Your debt has been written off or part of it has been forgiven under a debt settlement program yet you are still being contacted by third party debt collectors for the balance that has been forgiven. If this is the case, then you are being contacted for what is known as "zombie" debt. Amounts that have been written off that are more than 6 or 7 years old (depending on the state) or if you have negotiated an acceptable debt settlement program with your creditors and the remaining debt is being collected by a third party collection agency, you should seek the assistance of a bankruptcy attorney. Not only are these companies proceeding illegally, but the original creditor who originally wrote off the balance or agreed to the program could also be liable and it is best to handle such situations with the hired assistance of a bankruptcy attorney.

3. The debt you are looking at having written off under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 could be considered fraudulent or suspect. If your creditors make mention of the fact that some of your debt may not be able to get included under the filing because of potentially fraudulent or suspicious transactions, you need to enlist the assistance of a bankruptcy attorney.

The three instances above are all examples of what can justify the expense of dealing with a bankruptcy attorney. While it may seem that a lot of the bankruptcy process can be handled on your own, when you start getting into issues that fall under the above, a bankruptcy attorney can actually help. Remember; few people wish to file for bankruptcy. When all other options have been explored and exhausted, there may be no other options. Likewise, while most people dislike the thought of dealing with a bankruptcy attorney (rightly or wrongly), some situations leave debtors with absolutely no other option.

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