Part 1 of this blog covers the bankruptcy fees involved in filing an individual consumer petition and breaks down what each fee applies to. Part 2 covers the costs of hiring an attorney and why the fees are what they are. As a provider of bankruptcy assistance in Mankato, MN, Behm Law Group Ltd. understands the difficulty that many filers have in trying to come up with the legal fees to file for bankruptcy relief. Our goal is to offer a better explanation of what these fees cover and why it is still important to take advantage of the expertise of an attorney no matter what type of chapter you file for.
In Part 1 of this blog, we generally placed the cost of a Chapter 7 case between $1,000 and $3,500, and a Chapter 13 case between $2,500 and $6,000. The largest part of that cost will typically be the fee for hiring an attorney. Despite this cost, it is almost always recommended that you take advantage of an attorney to assist you. The bankruptcy code is a very complex system that can be extremely difficult to pick apart without experienced assistance. Many filers have their cases dismissed or be otherwise unsuccessful, wasting time and money, when this wouldn’t have happened with the help of an experienced lawyer. But why should I pay a lawyer? Put simply, a bankruptcy lawyer will do a lot more than you may initially realize and the lawyer will be there for you from the start of your bankruptcy case to the end.
What Lawyers Do
Bankruptcy attorneys build your case for you: organizing documents, gathering financial information, examining all your debts and properties, and creating a financial plan for your future. They also help you meet pre-bankruptcy requirements and protect you from creditors. In addition to all of this, they take on the vast majority of communication and organization among all parties involved (you, your creditors, the trustee, and the court). Overall, a bankruptcy attorney takes a significant burden off of your shoulders in many ways.
The cost of an attorney largely depends on your financial circumstances and any anticipated complexities involved in your case. It may also depend on the attorney involved, since some more experienced attorneys – attorneys who specialize only in bankruptcy matters — can charge more than lesser experienced lawyers who may not have been practicing as long and who may not be nearly as experienced with the bankruptcy process. Minimum costs are around $1,000, while maximum fees can exceed $5,000. To prevent excessive charges, the bankruptcy court reserves the right to examine the charges and make sure that they are reasonable. Many attorneys offer free consultations, and there are lawyers that reserve some of their time to offer pro-bono services to filers who absolutely cannot pay for bankruptcy assistance. In Part 3 of this blog, we’ll cover how you can pay bankruptcy court fees and attorney costs.