Bankruptcy cost, as any other service or product a consumer purchases, is a major consideration in their determination to hire the attorney. This is particularly more true for bankruptcy clients who are short on cash because of the nature of their finances. Clients always should know exactly how much it will cost them to file bankruptcy and get through the entire process. But what they should know most about is how much of the process will the attorney handle for them, and how much will be handled by paralegals or substitute attorneys. What I am talking about is the quality and the scope of the professional service you will get.
Now unless the debtor has filed bankruptcy multiple times, which is not possible in the first place, the debtor may have limited idea what to expect. It is the bankruptcy attorney’s job to explain what the client will get for the amount paid. If that is not obvious to the debtor, they should ask at the very least the following questions to a prospective bankruptcy attorney they are considering.
- Is the fee quoted a flat fee that includes everything from beginning to the end?
- Is there any exclusions where the attorney will not be representing the debtor? (its a repeat of #1 but you want to be crystal clear to the attorney on this)
- Will the attorney himself appear with the debtor at the creditor hearing or will he send an associate not familiar with the case or you?
- Will the attorney represent the debtor in any objections whether from the case trustee, the US trustee or the creditors?
The above is the basics only. You can find a complete chart of services of what you should expect here. Also, a professional bankruptcy attorney should be able to provide a service guaranty as we do here.
When you buy low cost bankruptcy, you are buying shortcuts and partial service. The most surprising fact is that high level, quality individualized service does not cost that much more when you are working with an attorney that ONLY practices in bankruptcy. There is an efficiency for an attorney who practices only in bankruptcy. That efficiency translates to savings for you the debtor.