One of the most difficult things about filing bankruptcy for most people is actually taking the first step, acknowledging that their debts far exceed their income and that something must be done. But where does a financially distressed individual begin? Once the individual realizes that they need help with their financial situation they can begin by finding an experienced bankruptcy lawyer and sitting down for a consultation to discuss their options. By speaking to friends or neighbors for a referral, or by searching the internet for a local bankruptcy attorney that is in good standing with the Bar Association, the individual can begin to gain valuable insight into their financial circumstances and how to gain financial stability. Most bankruptcy attorneys offer this consultation free of charge to the prospective client.
When going to the bankruptcy lawyer for the initial free consultation the debtor should be prepared and provide enough financial information to give a thorough picture of their financial status. This can help save time and subsequent hourly legal fees by helping the bankruptcy lawyer arrive at a reasonable and accurate estimate of charges for the case. Debtor should include in their financial statements for the consultation a complete list of their creditors, all assets and liabilities, their home mortgage balance, federal as well as state tax returns for the last three years, car loan payments, and outstanding credit card debt. Always be totally honest and forthcoming with the bankruptcy attorney since they are there to work for the debtor's best interests. Never try to hide assets or information that may be detrimental to the case if it is discovered. It makes no sense at all to find a reputable bankruptcy lawyer only to try to conceal information that if discovered at a later date in the case, can result in fraud charges for the debtor and can possibly jeopardize the attorney's reputation and career as well. Always remember more is better. The more information that the debtor shares with their bankruptcy lawyer the better prepared they will be prior to facing the creditors, trustee, and bankruptcy judge during the bankruptcy proceeding. Keep in mind that the ultimate goal of filing bankruptcy is to gain a clean slate financially.
As the US economy continues to decline many Americans are facing the possibility of filing for bankruptcy. When things get tough it is better to face them head on than it is to wait hoping for things to change. Over the last few years, there have been many stories of how Americans have gone through their 401(k) hoping a new job is just around the corner, only to find out their retirement is gone and they still have no job. It's better to live in the here and now and when faced with financial difficulties take the time to consult a bankruptcy lawyer before you start burning through assets to keep your lifestyle afloat.
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