After making the decision to file for bankruptcy, most individuals hire a bankruptcy attorney to prepare the petition. This is a good decision as the bankruptcy code has taken on a new complexity since the changes made back in 2005. The bankruptcy attorney will know how to navigate the Chapter 7 means test to make sure the individual qualifies to file. After the changes to the bankruptcy code, an individual filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy is now required to pass a means test that basically takes their average income and compares it against the median income of the area they reside. Also added to the changes of the bankruptcy code is a pre bankruptcy credit counseling course and a post bankruptcy financial management course. The certificate for the first one is required at the time of submitting the bankruptcy petition. The second one must be submitted any time prior to the bankruptcy discharge. The bankruptcy attorney will usually advise their client to take the second course after the meeting of creditors. This will give them plenty of time to submit it to the bankruptcy court prior to the bankruptcy discharge.
Another advantage to having a bankruptcy attorney working for you is legal advice. Going it alone or hiring a paralegal will leave a person guessing on what to do and how to deal with creditors. Having a bankruptcy attorney on your side will allow the debtor to give their plaguing question answered like, For someone that’s not being represented this could be disastrous. Usually, a bankruptcy attorney will advise their clients to stop paying their bills prior to the bankruptcy filing. The only way they would tell them to make a couple more payments as if they were continuing to use the credit cards right up to the bankruptcy filing date. Using a credit card right up to the date of filing bankruptcy typically does not sit well with the bankruptcy trustee. All of this depends heavily on what the credit cards were used for. If a person is buying electronics, jewelry, designer clothes, it is definitely taboo. On the other hand, if the person was using their credit cards to survive by buying food, gas and other household essentials, it is usually not as frowned upon. When it comes to Chapter 7 bankruptcy, timing is everything. The bankruptcy attorney will know when to pull the trigger and when to hold off on filing. When someone is suffering financial troubles, the last thing they need to do is bring more trouble for them self by not having the proper legal help. Considering the cost of having legal representation is really minimal when you compare it to the amount of debt that will be wiped out in the Chapter 7 bankruptcy.