Kentucky Bankruptcy Law

Counsel with Care

More Regarding Making Bankruptcy Affordable

It is a real dilemma: many people with more expenses and debt than income need the relief of bankruptcy and yet filing bankruptcy costs money. People are allowed to file bankruptcy without an attorney. Every form you need is available at the official US Courts website. However, the Bankruptcy Code is a convoluted mess that many learned attorneys steer clear of – so, if you file on your own, be careful. You will not be helped, though, by buying the forms from someone since they are free and paying a petition preparation person who is not an attorney can be dangerous.

From what my clients have told me, I charge a little less (couple hundred dollars or so) than many bankruptcy attorneys in my are and a little more than many lawyers in the area. So, my fees are in the mid-range. However, I currently do all the work myself. That means I am the one who answers to you and to the court. I am the one who takes care to make sure the petition and other pleadings are done correctly and in a manner that will give you the smoothest ride through the bankruptcy process. Furthermore, some lawyers do not do all that I do in the process.

Now, I have said all those other things in prior posts. But, what I wanted to write about is that I have been experimenting with splitting my fees similar to the way it works in Chapter 13. The bulk of the Chapter 7 fees would clearly be spelled out as pre-filing fees. Some of the fees would be specified as for post-filing services, such as attending the meeting of creditors. This is essentially the “un-bundling” of legal fees to make the harder parts of legal access more affordable. You see, any unpaid pre-petition fees for services not collected prior to a Chapter 7 are subject to being discharged debt. That is why previously I have insisted on getting all fees paid up front. However, it seems like times are increasingly tough for a certain sector of clients. I cannot afford to perform the same level of work for lower fees and stay in business, so this is the resolution that makes the most sense.

The down side to this is that the current bankruptcy court for the Eastern District of Kentucky has expressed disfavor of un-bundling of services. So, part of the reason for this post is to advocate for a fresh look at this approach. I am, though, reserving the right to determine which potential clients to which I am willing to extend this offer. I need a certain degree of assurance that my client will indeed pay the post-filing service fees in a timely manner. So, if you contact me, please do not be offended if I am unable to offer this arrangement. I will not be able to offer it to everyone at the same time or, like I said, I will be not be able to offer it at all.  Part of my analysis of this will include the extent of need for this lesser pre-filing fee arrangement and part of it will involve likelihood of paying the post-petition services fees.

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October 21, 2013 - Posted by | attorney fees, Chapter 7, Discharge, Planning, Pre-filing planning | , , , , , , , , , ,

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