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Why an Attorney Is Important When Filing for Bankruptcy

EH Law Group Jan. 3, 2024

We understand that the decision to file for bankruptcy is often a difficult one, fraught with stress and uncertainty. It's not just about the money; it's about the impact on your life, your family, and your future. We're here to reassure you that there's a way forward. Our team is dedicated to helping you regain control of your financial situation and move towards a brighter future.  

At EH Law Group, we empathize with the challenges you're facing and are here to provide you with the guidance and support you need. Located in San Mateo, California, EH Law Group serves clients throughout the Bay Area, including San Francisco, Santa Clara County, Oakland, Daly City, and South San Francisco. Our responsive and skilled attorneys have over 30 years of combined experience, and with EH Law Group, you don't have to worry about your case being handed off to inexperienced individuals. We're committed to giving every client detailed attention and guiding them through each step of the bankruptcy process. 

Brief Overview of the Bankruptcy Process

The bankruptcy process begins with gathering all necessary financial information, such as your income, expenses, assets, and debts. This data helps determine your eligibility for bankruptcy and shapes the creation of a repayment plan if required. Two common types of bankruptcy are Chapter 7, which discharges unsecured debts like credit cards and medical bills, and Chapter 13, which allows you to catch up on secured debts. Navigating these options can be complex, but with expert legal guidance, you can make informed decisions that best suit your situation. 

Reasons You Need an Attorney Through the Bankruptcy Process

Navigating the bankruptcy process alone can be overwhelming and fraught with potential mistakes. An attorney's assistance in this journey is not a mere luxury but a necessity. Here's why it's crucial to have a seasoned attorney by your side through the bankruptcy process. 

Experience and Guidance

Bankruptcy laws are complex, and understanding them requires specialized knowledge. Experienced attorneys are familiar with the complexities and nuances of bankruptcy law, and this knowledge proves invaluable in ensuring that your filing is accurate, complete, and compliant with all legal requirements.  

They are adept at handling unexpected issues that may arise during the process, which someone unfamiliar with bankruptcy law might find challenging to resolve. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can guide you through the intricacies of Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing, helping you understand the implications of each and assisting you in making the choice that best suits your unique financial situation. They can also help protect your assets and negotiate with creditors, leveraging their expertise to secure the most favorable outcome for you. In essence, an attorney's experience provides the guidance and assurance you need to navigate the bankruptcy process effectively, which can significantly alleviate the stress of this difficult time. 

Personalized Attention and Advocacy

Personalized attention and advocacy are crucial during the bankruptcy process due to the unique financial situations faced by each individual. Unlike a one-size-fits-all approach, personalized attention ensures that every aspect of your financial situation is taken into consideration. This includes your income, expenses, assets, debts, and your personal and financial goals. It allows your attorney to develop a strategic, customized plan that will effectively address your specific needs.  

On the other hand, advocacy plays a significant role in representing your best interests during the proceedings. Your attorney acts as your staunch advocate, fighting for your rights, negotiating with creditors, and making sure your voice is heard. This can be especially beneficial when dealing with aggressive creditors or navigating complex legal issues. Therefore, personalized attention and advocacy not only give you the best chance at a successful bankruptcy filing but also provide peace of mind during this challenging process. 

Avoiding Costly Mistakes

The path to bankruptcy is fraught with potential errors that could cost you dearly. Here are some common mistakes and why they can be detrimental: 

  • Failing to Disclose All Assets and Debts: Full disclosure is mandatory in bankruptcy filings. Concealing assets or debts may lead to case dismissal, fines, or even criminal charges. It's crucial to be transparent to ensure a fair and legal proceeding. 

  • Inaccurate Valuation of Assets: Accurately valuing your assets is critical. Overvaluation might lead to unnecessary repayments, while undervaluation could result in loss of property. Professional guidance can ensure correct assessments. 

  • Errors in The Repayment Plan: Mistakes in the repayment plan in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can lead to rejection by the court or creditors. An attorney can help create a plan that meets legal requirements and is within your means to comply with. 

  • Neglecting to Attend Mandatory Meetings or Meet Deadlines: Failing to attend the '341 meeting' (creditors' meeting) or missing filing deadlines could lead to case dismissal. Attorneys help you stay on top of these important obligations. 

  • Incorrectly Exempting Property: Bankruptcy law allows certain property exemptions, but errors in claiming these can result in the loss of the exempted property. Expert advice can prevent such losses. 

Avoiding these errors can make your bankruptcy process smoother and more successful. With the help of seasoned attorneys like those at EH Law Group, you can navigate these potential pitfalls effectively, ensuring your financial recovery journey is as painless as possible.  

Dealing With Tax Debt and Protecting Retirement Accounts

Dealing with tax debt and protecting retirement accounts when declaring bankruptcy can be a convoluted process filled with potential pitfalls. An attorney can help in numerous ways: 

  • Addressing Tax Debt: Bankruptcy laws concerning tax debts are complex. Whether your tax debt is dischargeable or not depends on multiple factors such as the type of tax owed, how old the debt is, and whether a tax return was filed. An experienced attorney can analyze your tax obligations, help determine which debts can be discharged, and guide you in creating a plan to manage those that cannot.  

  • Protecting Retirement Accounts: Retirement accounts are generally protected in bankruptcy under federal law. However, not all retirement accounts qualify for this protection, and there can be exceptions. An attorney can help you understand which of your retirement assets are exempt from bankruptcy proceedings. They can guide you on how to declare these assets correctly, ensuring you don't unintentionally lose this crucial protection. 

In essence, an attorney can provide the necessary legal expertise to navigate these often misunderstood areas of bankruptcy law. They can make sure you are making informed decisions, maximizing your benefits, and protecting your long-term financial health. 

Take Control of Your Financial Future With EH Law Group

Our attorneys will assess your financial situation, evaluate your eligibility, and determine the best course of action, thereby increasing the likelihood of a successful filing. Facing financial distress can be daunting, but you don't have to face it alone. EH Law Group is here to provide you with expert legal representation and support during the bankruptcy process. Let us guide you through the process and provide you with the personalized attention and advocacy you deserve.