You cannot imagine how many people call my law office for bankruptcy advice and the first question they ask me is how much do you cost. Don’t get me wrong, if you’re considering filing for bankruptcy, obviously you are in a bad financial situation and do not have a lot of money to spend, I can appreciate this fact. What most people don’t understand is filing bankruptcy will usually be the single most important financial decision you will ever make in your life, it will literally change your life forever. Now are you going to make the biggest financial decision in your life, based on price? After all, you get what you pay for. There is a reason why certain lawyers can afford to ask for more money than other lawyers, it’s called experience and knowledge.
Let me share with you some real world examples of what I mean. I have had numerous clients lose their homes to foreclosure, simply because before they came to a bankruptcy lawyer with the knowledge and experience to help their financial situation, they shopped for a lawyer based on price. Now there are a number of chapters of the bankruptcy code and a variety of rules associated with each individual chapter. The vast majority of bankruptcy attorneys only file chapter 7 bankruptcy, and those that file chapter 13 bankruptcy, only a very small fraction of those attorneys understand and can use chapter 13 bankruptcy to completely benefit your particular financial situation. With the client I’m referring to, instead of obtaining the proper legal advice, they went to a cheaper inexperienced or a knowledgeable attorney, who did not inform them of all the rules and opportunities that bankruptcy affords a debtor. Simply put, going to a bankruptcy attorney that only file chapter 7 bankruptcy, that attorney is going to talk you into filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy, when possibly a chapter 13 bankruptcy would have been more beneficial to your particular financial situation.
Let’s call my client Jane Doe, Jane, who lives in Fall River, Massachusetts, has recently lost her home after filing chapter 7 bankruptcy. Now if I’m telling you that bankruptcy can solve so many of your financial problems, why is Jane worse off now after going to an attorney to have them file bankruptcy for her? The simple fact is she was shopping for bankruptcy attorneys based on price, which invariably leads people to inexperienced attorneys who only know how to file chapter 7 bankruptcy, and do not have the experience or knowledge of handling a chapter 13 bankruptcy case. Chapter 7 bankruptcy does not let you catch up on secured debt, such as car loans and mortgages, so if you file chapter 7 bankruptcy and your behind on a car loan or mortgage, you are going to lose that piece of property. But in chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can stop a repossession of an automobile or the foreclosure of a home, and be given 3 to 5 years to catch up on your missed payments while you are making your normal monthly payments. Furthermore, a little known fact is that if you’ve attempted to obtain a mortgage modification in the past and were denied, you can get that modification in chapter 13 bankruptcy. People are under the mistaken belief that banks are under an obligation to give you a mortgage modification and this is not their fault, banks make you feel like they’re going to give you a mortgage modification and for one reason or another keep denying it and keep you in the cycle, until you financially cannot come out of the debt you are in. At this point, this is when the bank is going to foreclose on your home. This is the exact situation happened to Jane, she lost her home, when financially she could’ve kept her home by filing chapter 13 bankruptcy, instead of chapter 7 bankruptcy. Furthermore, in chapter 13 bankruptcy if you have the particular financial situation which fits the criteria for a certain banks loan modification or mortgage modification standards, and chapter 13 bankruptcy the bankruptcy court will force the bank to give you a mortgage modification. This is a little-known fact and it is not accomplished simply by filing chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must start an adversarial proceeding and file a motion with the bankruptcy court to adjudicate if you are in fact able and qualified for a mortgage modification. Had Jane come to my law office or the Laurel offices of an experienced bankruptcy attorney, she would have her home and she would be paying less per month on her mortgage. Imagine that she saved herself a few hundred dollars by getting the cheap bankruptcy attorney and what did she get in return she lost her home. Think about that for a moment, if you have a home most likely you’ve placed 10 to 20% down on it, and have been paying for number of years. When you lose that, you lose tens of thousands of dollars, does it make sense to save hundreds, when the end result is that you’re going to lose tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars?
This is simply one example, I could give you numerous of how people have lost everything simply by going to the cheapest lawyer they could find. At my law firm if the first question you ask is how much do I charge, I’m not even ask you if you want to set up an appointment. Any successful law firm knows, to always turn away the bottom 25% of clients asking for your services, this is a sound financial decision and one that only experienced and knowledgeable attorneys are able to do. Why is this? Simply because we know, that clients asking for price, before they even evaluate your knowledge, will in the end court to more money than they make you. Yes law firms have to worry about their finances to, just like you need to worry about your finances. So do not make the wrong financial decision by basing the most important financial choice of your life on price, you get what you pay for.
Joseph F. Botelho, Esq.
BOTELHO LAW GROUP
Attorneys At Law
901 Eastern Ave.
Fall River, MA 02723
#bankruptcy, #lawyer, #FallRiver, #Chapter7, #chapter13, #debt, #foreclosure, #attorney, #lawsuit, #court, #eviction, #student, #loans, #education, #IRS, #taxes, #FallRiver, #NewBedford, #Taunton, #Attleboro, #Providence, #Pawtucket, #Massachusetts, #RhodeIsland