Elder law is dedicated to serving the country’s elderly population. The term elder is defined in terms of age and vulnerability. The criteria for each differs between states. In California, for instance, the state defines an elder as anyone age 65 or older. In Minnesota, a vulnerable adult is anyone who is 18 years or older that has a physical or mental infirmity. Due to that infirmity, that person requires some type of assistance to survive. Some states define an elder as a combination of age and vulnerability status. Each senior citizen has unique needs. It is important that they are protected and taken care of. The most significant issues in this practice area are estate planning, federal benefits, and elder abuse. Attorneys who specialize in elder law are experts in working with these problems. They can help senior citizens prepare for the future. They will also assist them in taking advantage of the benefits society has to offer them. Bankruptcy and Debt attorneys can help clients in the following areas:
If your financial situation has taken a turn for the worst, you’ve probably considered filing for bankruptcy. If you are wondering, “Is bankruptcy right for me?”, it is a good idea to consult a bankruptcy attorney about your situation. Bankruptcy is a complicated process, and depending upon your situation, it may or may not be in your best interests to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. It’s something that should be avoided if possible, but almost 1 million people a year in the U.S. file for bankruptcy to find relief from their financial issues. People who represent themselves pro se (without an attorney) have a significantly lower success rate than those who use bankruptcy attorneys. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can guide you through this complicated process while helping you protect your assets. Listed below are answers to some basic questions related to filing for bankruptcy.
You’re already in a tough position financially. Do you really need to spend money that you may not have to hire proper representation? The law does not require you to have a bankruptcy lawyer and many people do choose to file without assistance, but doing so is risky.
On average, 25% of filers choose not hire representation when filing for bankruptcy. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, more than 60% of people who chose to file without representation were successful in discharging their debt, but almost 95% of people who did choose to hire an attorney to represent them filed successful bankruptcies.
Missing a deadline, forgetting to list an asset or incorrectly filing can cause you to have your case dismissed. In most cases, an experienced attorney will make up for any cost you may surrender by filing the case on your own.
Choose a bankruptcy lawyer that will allow you to meet with him or her for a free initial consultation to find out if your needs can be met and to be sure that they are the best choice to handle your filing. Make sure that the attorney you choose is up-to-date on all bankruptcy code changes and, most importantly, that you are comfortable with allowing this person to help you through a very difficult and emotional period in your life.
Be prepared to meet with a few bankruptcy firms to make sure that you are choosing your representation wisely.
Once you select an attorney to assist you with your bankruptcy, you will sign a retainer agreement, in which your attorney will outline the scope of the services they will provide while managing your case.
You should expect competent legal advice for your bankruptcy. This should include a decision to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Your attorney will be able to explain the benefits of each and help you decide which filing best fits your situation. Each of these choices will include risks that should be thoroughly explained to you at the start of the process. At this time, they should also explain what you can do to make the filing process quicker and easier, such as having your financial records, previous legal records and any additional documents collected and organized for your attorney.
Gathering facts and records for your case will help you navigate difficult situations that may arise during your case. Be sure to ask them if they will be attending your court dates with you. If they will not be with you, make sure that the attorney attending your court appearance will be briefed on your case and will serve as a strong representation of your primary attorney.
Your attorney should keep you updated on all information and changes that occur during the length of your bankruptcy case. This may include communication between your attorney and any creditors to clear up any issues that may turn up as the case goes on.
Your attorney should be able to clearly explain when all forms and documents must be submitted to the court. If you don’t clearly understand when these documents must be presented or they allow you to miss these deadlines, there can be delays in your case or other types of complications.
You will be required, after you file for bankruptcy, to attend a mandatory meeting called a “Meeting of Creditors”. There are cases where your attorney may instruct you not to attend, but they will attend on your behalf. They should also inform you of any situation where you may be required to attend additional hearings. They will make sure that you clearly understand the importance of these hearings and when you should be prepared to attend.
If you case will result in filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your attorney fees will depend on the complexity of your case. If you’re filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it is possible that your bankruptcy court will have guidelines for what your attorney should be charging. Be careful not to hire an attorney to file your bankruptcy solely based on their firm charging you the lowest fee. They may not have enough experience or be able to provide you with enough service to handle your case correctly.