What Are The Negative Consequences To Filing For Bankruptcy?

Before you decide if you need to file for bankruptcy, it’s best to know what to expect when you do. Everything from the process to the negative consequences, will help you decide if this step is right for you. Many times, it’s easy for people to choose to file for bankruptcy because their financial situation is so bleak, and this is the step that will help the repair the damage. In this way, bankruptcy can be seen as a stepping stone toward financial freedom, instead of as a financial failure, as it’s often seen.

For many people, filing for bankruptcy is their last option. Instead of piling on the doom and gloom, here are the realistic consequences of filing for bankruptcy.

  1. The major negative consequence is that filing for bankruptcy will negatively affect your credit score. But like most people looking to file for bankruptcy, your credit score is probably already in pretty bad shape. So while this is not great, it’s not doing that much more harm.
  2. If you have substantial assets, there is the potential that they could be taken away by the bankruptcy trustee, but a skilled attorney can help you protect those assets and make sure that nothing bad happens.
  3. It generally takes about 2 years after a bankruptcy until someone can qualify for a mortgage. The positive is that after 2 years your credit score should be way better than it was before the bankruptcy.

As you can see, the consequences aren’t that negative and filing for bankruptcy could actually improve your financial situation. It’s a fresh start, a new day to make better financial decisions. And the right bankruptcy attorney can help you do just that.

At Mapes Law Offices, we don’t just see filing for bankruptcy as another case, we see it as a way for you to improve your financial situation. We understand that good people go through rough times. And we help those people get back on their feet. We work with you to create a plan that will help you get back on track financially. We want to help you establish a stable financial future and we know that means creating a solid plan together. If you’re in the Western Michigan area and are looking for a bankruptcy attorney, give us a call at Mapes Law Offices at (616) 719-3847 or request your free consultation today. One call can be all it takes to start on the path to a better financial future.

What Are the Steps for Filing for Bankruptcy?

If you’re thinking of filing for bankruptcy, the process can seem really overwhelming. You may not know what to expect, how long the process will take or how it will affect your life moving forward. Knowing the answers to these questions will help you make your decision and will relieve some stress in the days to come.

Understand that most people who file for bankruptcy have simply found themselves in a bad situation. The first step is to find a bankruptcy attorney who understands your situation and is willing to help you for the long haul. Filing for bankruptcy doesn’t have to just be about your current situation. It’s a step toward financial security and the right lawyer will help you get there. That being said, here are some steps that you can expect to go through when filing for bankruptcy.

  1. Find the right bankruptcy attorney for you. Read 5 Questions You Should Ask Your Bankruptcy Attorney to help you find exactly who’s right for you.
  2. You will meet with your bankruptcy attorney and they will help you decide what is the best chapter to file.
  3. You will return to your attorney with documentation of your debts and assets. This will help your attorney prepare your bankruptcy petition. This is also when your attorney will ask more in depth questions about your case.
  4. You will then meet with your attorney again to review the petition, sign it and file it with the court.
  5. Four to six weeks after filing, you will attend a meeting of creditors. This is not a court hearing and there is no judge. You meet with a trustee, who is another lawyer that asks the same sort of questions your attorney did. This meeting will take maybe 5 minutes and, if your attorney does their job properly, it is really boring. Technically any creditor can show up and ask you questions, but that only happens around 1% of the time.
  6. After the meeting of creditors, you will receive a discharge within 3 to 4 months. That’s usually 2 to 3 months after that the case is closed and everything is finished.

Filing for bankruptcy can be scary, but the right bankruptcy attorney will make all the difference in the world. At Mapes Law Offices, we work hard for you. We see filing for bankruptcy as a step toward financial freedom. We not only help you in your current situation, we also help you plan for your future. We want to see all of our clients succeed and that means working with them to create a plan for their future.

If your in the West Michigan area and thinking of filing for bankruptcy, give Mapes Law Offices a call today. We will discuss every step of the process with you and help you decide what is your best course of action. Sign up for your free initial consultation now or give us a call at (616) 719-3847. Take your first step toward financial freedom, you’ll be glad you did.

How To File Bankruptcy Yourself, A Cautionary Tale

In our day and age of DIY everything, it may seem like filing for bankruptcy yourself is the way to go. You may think, “My case isn’t that complicated. I could probably do it on my own. I have a buddy down that street that can help me.” Tread wisely! Filing for bankruptcy means huge changes in your life. And if it’s not done correctly, it could really cost you, and not just financially.

Of course, being a bankruptcy law firm, we always recommend working with a professional when filing for bankruptcy. You may think we’re biased, but here are some very important reasons why it is best to avoid DIY bankruptcy.

  1. It is very risky. You wouldn’t do your own dentistry, don’t do your own legal work. Some things in life just require an expert.
  2. It could hurt your family. If you don’t know what to look for, you could end up getting family members sued by a trustee to recover money you repaid to those family members.
  3. You could loose everything. The most confusing part for debtors who file on their own are claiming exemptions. This is a very nuanced area of law, and if it’s not done properly you could lose everything you own.
  4. It could cost you. It usually costs twice as much to fix a bankruptcy someone else filed as it does to file it right the first time.

We usually tell this old lawyer joke to unconvinced clients to help convey the benefits of using a bankruptcy lawyer:

“The huge printing presses of a major Chicago newspaper began malfunctioning on the Saturday before Christmas, putting all the revenue for advertising that was to appear in the Sunday paper in jeopardy. None of the technicians could track down the problem. Finally, a frantic call was made to the retired printer who had worked with these presses for over 40 years. ‘We’ll pay anything; just come in and fix them,’ he was told. When he arrived, he walked around for a few minutes, surveying the presses; then he approached one of the control panels and opened it. He removed a dime from his pocket, turned a screw 1/4 of a turn, and said, ‘The presses will now work correctly.’ After being profusely thanked, he was told to submit a bill for his work. The bill arrived a few days later, for $10,000.00! Not wanting to pay such a huge amount for so little work, the printer was told to please itemize his charges, with the hope that he would reduce the amount once he had to identify his services. The revised bill arrived: $1.00 for turning the screw; $9,999.00 for knowing which screw to turn.”

When you hire a bankruptcy attorney, you’re not just hiring someone to type up forms, you’re hiring them for their knowledge. There are many things that could come up during your bankruptcy that you just won’t know how to handle, but an experienced professional will.

That’s why, if you’re in the West Michigan area, you should call us at Mapes Law Offices. We help hundreds of clients file for bankruptcy every year. But what really sets us apart? Attorneys in Michigan are not required to do continuing education, but at Mapes Law Offices we require our attorneys to complete 30 hours of continuing education every year. And with laws changing all of this time, we think this is an important step that we take to ensure our clients get the best representation possible.

If you’re facing a bankruptcy, give us a call today at (616) 719-3847 or request your free consultation. This could be the step you take that leads you toward financial freedom.