Bankruptcy is a serious undertaking, quite possibly the most serious financial event of one’s life. This is why it is crucial to avoid some of the more common mistakes when you take this important step toward a clean slate. Common bankruptcy mistakes include the following:
- Not hiring an experienced bankruptcy attorney: Like physicians, lawyers concentrate on certain areas of practice. Some specialize in criminal defense, others in personal injury. If you enter into bankruptcy proceedings with an attorney who hasn’t had substantial experience in the field, you could have your bankruptcy rejected, have some debts declared non-dischargeable, and lose valuable assets like your car, house, retirement plans, etc.
- Filing for bankruptcy using a paralegal or a legal document service: First of all, these people are not attorneys. Secondly, it is illegal in California for a paralegal to offer services directly to the public. A paralegal can only operate in association with a licensed attorney. Remember, you have valuable assets on the line—don’t risk losing them without an experienced attorney.
- Having your bankruptcy handled by a bankruptcy “mill”: Many law firms take the mill approach to handling bankruptcies. By operating at high volume, they can bring their prices down and attract more customers. The problem with these bankruptcy mills is that you don’t get personal service. In bankruptcy proceedings, it’s important to have a relationship with your attorney as you will likely have a lot of questions.
- Hiring an attorney who does not advise of bankruptcy alternatives: Bankruptcy is not always the best solution to your financial issues. A skilled bankruptcy attorney will explain the options available to you and which one will best suit your needs. Oftentimes, bankruptcy is the best solution, but not always.
- Filing for bankruptcy without any legal representation: Filing for bankruptcy may sound simple, like just filling out forms and signing them, but it’s actually more complicated than that. Without an attorney, you will have to deal directly with creditors and appear before a judge all by yourself. There’s help available…why not use it?
If you’re in Southern California and considering filing for bankruptcy, first make a call to the seasoned legal team at the Cal West Law Firm in Woodland Hills. They have been helping clients deal with financial issues for over 25 years and will put their experience to work on your case. Call (818) 446-1334 for a free consultation.