Tag: bankruptcy attorney

Initial Bankruptcy Consultation: What to expect

Your initial bankruptcy consultation is your first meeting with a bankruptcy office. In this meeting, you will decide if the firm and bankruptcy attorney are the right fit for you and make you feel comfortable. Additionally, you will be given the information and education to decide if filing bankruptcy is the right choice for you and your family.

It is important to have access to an experienced bankruptcy attorney for this meeting. Not all offices provide access to an attorney for their new client bankruptcy consultations. For our office, your initial consultation will always be with an attorney. We do it this because it is important that you start with a relationship with the person who is going to guide you through the process and give you legal advice. Paraprofessionals and/or a receptionist should not be the one to give you legal advice since it is your attorney that has the training and experience with the court! That being said, you will be working with the staff and other attorney in the office as well because you are hiring the firm, but you should have access to your first point of contact for explanations and guidance along the way.

Attorneys routinely provide a free initial bankruptcy consultation. Our office offers free consultations though there are a few exceptions. The consultation can take a while, but this is because you will have our undivided attention during this time and our attorneys will sit with you until all your questions are answered.

The initial consultation involves discussing your current situation and problems to see if bankruptcy can help. Prospective clients often ask what they should bring to the initial bankruptcy consultation. It is not necessary to bring anything with you to the initial consultation at our office, but it may be helpful to bring information about your current income, expenses, debts and any pending lawsuits. There will be an intake form that needs to be filled out. Think about the bankruptcy consultation as a doctor’s appointment where you are getting a problem checked out. The doctor can’t just tell you what is wrong and how to fix it without you answering a lot of questions and providing information about what is going on with you right now. The bankruptcy consultation is like a doctor’s appointment for your financial situation. The more detailed the information provided to us in the consultation, the better our recommendations will be!

Please call our office (305) 278-0811 to schedule your initial bankruptcy consultation with our office!

bankruptcy attorneys

Why do Bankruptcy Attorneys ask so many questions?

Why do Bankruptcy Attorneys ask so many questions? Two words: due diligence. All attorneys have a duty under the Florida Bar to be candid with the court when making disclosures and presenting a client’s case. Bankruptcy Attorneys have an even higher burden.

As Bankruptcy Attorneys, we are responsible for helping you in the bankruptcy process and also ensuring the bankruptcy schedules are accurate and correct. Bankruptcy is about disclosure. A debtor provides the required information and cooperates in exchange for a discharge of the debtor’s debts. Failure to make the disclosures or do the work necessary to get the information together can result in dire consequences for the client/debtor and for the attorney.

Bankruptcy Code section 11 U.S.C. 526(a)(2) requires Bankruptcy Attorneys as a debt relief agency to certify the bankruptcy paperwork by the client. By signing the bankruptcy paperwork, the Bankruptcy Attorney is certifying that he or she has done a reasonable investigation into the numbers and information in the bankruptcy schedules.

If a reasonable inquiry is not done by the debtor’s Bankruptcy Attorneys, then the attorneys themselves can be sanctioned by the court.

This doesn’t mean amendments to the petition and schedules are not common place, it just means that the process needs to be taken seriously and the questions that Bankruptcy Attorneys ask are important! It may seems like we are being nosy, but we are really trying to protect you, give you good advice, and protect ourselves.

Call us today for your free consultation (305) 278-0811, but be prepared for some questions!

 

5 Reasons to Have your Consultation with an Attorney

Many bankruptcy law offices have assistants and paralegals conduct new client consultations. This should be a big red flag to a client contemplating bankruptcy.

5 Reasons your Consultation should be with a Bankruptcy Attorney

Here are 5 reasons that it is important for your initial consultation to be with a Bankruptcy Attorney.

  1. A consultation should involve the analysis of the prospective client’s situation and how bankruptcy could help. This means giving legal advice. Legal advice about bankruptcy can only come from an attorney. Legal advice coming from an assistant or paralegal is the unlicensed practice of law.
  2. The Bankruptcy Attorney is the one who goes to court. Seeing how cases play out in court and with the trustees gives the Bankruptcy Attorney first hand knowledge of how bankruptcy can work for you.
  3. The attorney’s office works together to collect documents, prepare the paperwork, and file your bankruptcy, but the Bankruptcy Attorney should be the one to work out the strategy of the case with you and discuss your goals in bankruptcy.
  4. Consultations let you know a lot about the service you will receive. If you are not important enough for the attorney to make time to an answer your questions at the beginning, then how confident are you that the attorney will have time for your questions during the bankruptcy process.
  5. You deserve to hear from your would be Attorney!

At the Bankruptcy Law Offices of James Schwitalla, P.A., our Miami bankruptcy lawyers have been committed to helping people get debt relief through bankruptcy for over 18 years. Contact us to learn more about consultations with a Bankruptcy Attorney.

Tips for Finding the Right Bankruptcy Attorney

Finding any bankruptcy attorney is easy, but find the right Bankruptcy Attorney can be challenging with so many attorneys and so much information available. Making the decision to explore bankruptcy is a big step. Before filing bankruptcy, one should research what bankruptcy attorney to use just as much as how bankruptcy works. Some believe that the attorney that files the bankruptcy is not important, but this is incorrect.

Bankruptcy can dramatically improve a person’s financial situation, but a bankruptcy done incorrectly can result in a bankruptcy client losing his or her home or possibly a lot more. There is so much on the line that the choice is an important one.

Questions when looking for the right bankruptcy attorney:

  1. Experience: Does the attorney have experience in bankruptcy? What is the attorney’s primary practice? How long has the attorney been practicing bankruptcy? Does the attorney file both chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcies?
  2. Client Feedback: Do past clients have good things to say about the attorney?
  3. Opinions of other attorneys: Do attorneys that have worked with the attorney have good things to say about the attorney? Does an attorney you know trust the attorney?
  4. Explanations about Bankruptcy: Did the bankruptcy attorney try to explain the bankruptcy process in a way you can understand? Did you walk away from the consultation knowing more about bankruptcy and feel more comfortable with your decision?
  5. Answers your Questions: During the consultation, did the attorney answer all your questions?

James Schwitalla has more than 22 years of experience in bankruptcy. Our office specializes in helping individuals, families, and business owners file bankruptcy to help them with their debt problems and to get a fresh financial start. We do not advertise or have flashy advertising. Our clients and attorneys we work with are our best referral sources. During a consultation with one of our attorneys, Mr. Schwitalla and Ms. Roberts, all your questions will be answered and the attorney will educate you about bankruptcy and how it can work for you.

Call (305) 278-0811 or send us an e-mail to learn more about how we can help you.

Can I Strip Off my Home’s Second Mortgage in Bankruptcy?

Whether or not you can strip off your home’s second mortgage in bankruptcy used to be any easy answer to arrive at. If your home was worth less than the balance of the first mortgage, you could strip off any junior mortgage. Historically, this relief was available in Chapter 13 bankruptcies only (see my Chapter 13 web page here: Chapter 13 Bankruptcy).

Continue reading “Can I Strip Off my Home’s Second Mortgage in Bankruptcy?”