Many bankruptcy attorneys get calls from prospective clients who swear they have "a simple case." Of course, we all want to believe that our case is simple, especially when a complicated case may warrant a higher fee. However, these prospective clients are often a poor judge when evaluating the complexity of their chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy case.
When Your Bankruptcy Is Not Simple
- Tax Debt. The inquiry into whether tax debt is dischargeable is not a simple one. It requires more than a base understanding of the language of Section 523. Have you made an offer in compromise? Did you file your taxes before they were assessed by the IRS? These questions need to be answered before filing, and this inquiry is something that makes a case anything but simple.
- You're new to the State. If you have not continuously resided in California (or whatever state you live in now) for the past 2 years you might not be able to use California exemption law (or the exemption law of the state you live in now) to protect your assets in bankruptcy. Since your bankruptcy lawyer in California is most familiar with California exemption law, having to use another state's exemptions to protect property makes the case more difficult.
- Self Employed. If you have your own business and file chapter 7 bankruptcy the Trustee may require that your attorney file a motion to compel abandonment. Any case where motion work may come into play is not an easy case.
- Real Estate. The largest asset in consumer bankruptcy cases are often homes. Since your bankruptcy attorney must protect your home in chapter 7 bankruptcy it's value must be determined prior to filing. If this value is close to the amount of equity you can protect in bankruptcy, your attorney will be working more on your behalf as he or she goes back and forth with the Trustee on your home's value.
- You're Pushy. It's true that the squeaky wheel get's the grease, so a little "presence" can help move your case along. However, being aggressive or "pushy" with your attorney can sour the attorney-client relationship. If your attorney is thinking that your personality alone will require more of their time then you can expect a higher quote after the free consultation.