Most people never need to hire a lawyer, and when they do, it’s usually at a time of their life that is filled with stress and uncertainty. As a result, meeting with a lawyer a lawyer is often something that people approach with a lot of trepidation. It’s no different when someone is considering filing for bankruptcy. You’re already being harassed by creditors and debt collectors, you may be facing foreclosure, and other legal actions. The idea of meeting with a complete stranger to discuss your financial situation is, at a minimum, daunting. However, it’s important to remember that our Minnesota bankruptcy law firm is here to help you get through these difficult times and make a fresh start.
Come to the Meeting Prepared to Discuss the Big Picture
Most bankruptcy attorneys offer a free initial consultation. It’s important to come to this meeting prepared so that it can be both informative and productive for both you and the attorney. Therefore, it’s always best that you come to the meeting ready to discuss your situation and why you are considering filing for bankruptcy. Be prepared to provide the following information:
- Your marital status and number of children or other dependents;
- Your income and your total household income;
- The total amount owed to various creditors; and
- The total value of the assets you own (house, cars, boats, etc.).
Prior to the meeting, you should also give some consideration to the following questions:
- Was there a single event that has caused your current situation? Did you lose your job or another source of income? Have you recently experienced a major life-changing event that has caused a financial hardship?
- Are you facing lawsuits and other legal actions from your creditors? Have they attached your wages or bank accounts? Have any of your creditors obtained a judgment against you?
- Is your home in the process of being foreclosed? Are you in the eviction process?
- Has your car or some other asset been repossessed?
The purpose of the meeting is to help your attorney determine whether and how they can help you. It’s also your opportunity to determine whether they are the right attorney for you.
Consider Bringing Your Financial Records
Bringing your financial records with you can also help the meeting be productive. We know that it’s a hassle, but consider bringing copies of the following documents to your meeting:
- Tax returns for the last two years.
- Seven months of bank statements and pay stubs.
- Copies of your mortgage and any other loan documents for cars or other property
- Any and all paperwork related to foreclosure, eviction, lawsuits, garnishments, or other legal actions
- Copies of any investment statements, including your 401k or other retirement accounts
- A copy of your driver’s license and social security card.
- A list of all your debts, including credit cards, medical bills, auto loans, mortgages, etc. If possible, identify the creditor and how much is owed. It is ideal if you can provide current account statements for each.
If you proceed with your bankruptcy filing, you will need to produce all of these records anyway. That said, you can still meet with the lawyer even if you can’t find all of the documents listed above.
What You Can Expect From Your Minnesota Bankruptcy Attorney
We’ve spent a fair amount of time explaining what will be expected of you at the meeting. But what about your lawyer? Here is what you can expect from your attorney at your initial meeting:
- Active listening and close attention to detail
- A candid assessment of your case and your options
- Clear, concise answers to your questions
- A clear and transparent discussion concerning the legal fees you will have to pay
- Identification of potential issues in your case
- An explanation of the steps that need to be taken and the potential timeline for your case
You are trusting your attorney with your financial future. Before you move forward, you want to make sure that you are absolutely comfortable with the attorney you decide to hire.
Contact a Minnesota Bankruptcy Attorney to Discuss Your Situation
At Kain & Scott, we know that hiring a Minnesota bankruptcy attorney is no small matter. As a result, we strive to make sure our clients are totally comfortable with how we handle their case and that they understand every step of the process. If you’re facing bankruptcy and don’t know what to do, the bankruptcy lawyers at Kain & Scott have the experience and skill to get you back on the right path. If you would like a free consultation to discuss how we can help you, call us at 800-551-3292 or fill out our online contact form.