This office receives a lot of calls from people who are going back and forth with their lenders, getting their foreclosure "stopped" for a week or month at a time. They want to retain a bankruptcy attorney to file a bankruptcy petition once these attempts at "stopping" foreclosure fail - or, even worse - in case one fails soon. Usually we know these cases right away - the first thing these individuals want to know is "how late we are open" - and whether we are open on weekends. In other words, they want to be able to depend on a dependable attorney in case the undependable people they are depending on act the way they expect them too!
A good bankruptcy attorney will advise you not to pay the lender's game of pleading for - and counting on - oral representations from telephone customer representatives to "save" the house for a week or month at a time. A good bankruptcy attorney can explain to you that those individuals can make oral representations that they will stop or postpone the foreclosure, but that if they foreclose anyway you are not going to be able to afford to argue that it was not fair. We have seen it happen plenty of times.
An attorney can also probably explain to you that they have seen lots of situations where people caught up in this dangerous game allowed other debts to slip out of their control. Just when they thought the mortgage problem was postponed for another 30 days - (after making tens of hours of phone calls and letting their career and family obligations slide) - the IRS garnishes their paycheck or they get served with a collections lawsuit.
Don't play the lender's dangerous game - if you are facing a potential foreclosure you should discuss the matter with a competent bankruptcy attorney and look for a real solution. Don't waste all of your emotional energy depending on part-time help at a lender's call center to look out for you. Those individuals cannot be trusted when your home is on the line. A good bankruptcy attorney will not wait around to see a client lose their house because they believed the things they were told on the phone were true. A good attorney will not want first-rate legal advice to be a mere backup plan for when lender phone games go unexpectedly.
Usually people with forelcosure problems have other debts too. If you want to save your house, and deal with your other debts, bankruptcy may address all of your financial problems. The person on the other end of the phone at your mortgage company is not going to help you prioritize your debts - their goal is to get as much money as they can for their employer. Your priority in finding an attorney should be one who you are comfortable with and will do what is in your best interest. It is never in your best interest to play the lender's dangerous game.
ARAG Bankruptcy Coverage
Many clients or prospective clients ask whether ARAG legal coverage includes bankruptcy work. While it depends on the individual's policy, ARAG plans often cover the fees for a basic consumer Chapter 7 case, or the attorney fees associated with preparing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition through the filing. In addition, ARAG often covers the fees for the attorney to do a full review of the client's documentation. In general, with the ARAG plans, the client will have the ability to hire an attorney and get a case filed without paying legal fees out-of-pocket. You should check with ARAG to see if there are restrictions on your bankruptcy coverage, if you have bankruptcy coverage. For ARAG customers who do not have bankruptcy coverage, courtesy discounts are still available at our office. Contact us for a free consultation. - honakerlegal
This is a follow up to the post of earlier today about the cost of filing bankruptcy in San Francisco. Overall, fees for filing in San Jose and Oakland are similar. Because of minor variations in rules, depending on the circumstances, attorneys may want to have a larger retainer in different court divisions. This will depend on the circumstances of your case. The best thing to do is see an attorney once you believe there may be a problem, because the more time your attorney has to consider your situation, the more flexible the attorney can be at setting the retainer. For a straightforward case where it is clear the client can succeed at completing a Chapter 13 plan, filing in Oakland and San Jose would be the same price as filing in San Francisco. Chapter 7 case fees would not vary much between the Bay Area court divisions. Regardless of where you file, you will be responsible for the $274.00 filing fee for Chapter 13, or $299.00 for Chapter 7.
Many potential clients call and ask how much it costs to file Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in San Francisco. If you use an attorney, you will have to pay a bankruptcy filing fees of $274.00, plus other expenses like a credit counseling certificate.
In addition to expenses, you will need to pay your attorney a retainer fee. Depending on the attorney, they will require some percentage of an anticipated total legal fee paid before the case is filed; this is the retainer fee. Most experienced attorneys in the San Francisco Bay Area will require a relatively low retainer to get started. Unlike other areas of law, in bankruptcy, good legal help is available to almost everyone, thanks to the nature of the Chapter 13 process.
In our experience, clients with a basic case who have all of their documentation ready, and do not wait until the last minute to file, can file with an attorney fee retainer of $500.00-$900.00. Clients who do not have their documentation ready, or have waited until the last minute usually have to pay more so that their case can be expedited.
For the attorney to take the risk of offering a low retainer, they need to know if the client is likely to complete their bankruptcy plan, because the attorney gets compensated through the plan. If someone comes at the last minute, the attorney cannot know how likely the client is to complete the plan. The best thing to do is talk to an attorney once you know there is a problem. Then you have the time to get to know the attorney, and figure out the most reasonable and cost-effective solution.
If you are a responsible and well-meaning client, you can find an attorney to work with you to make the Chapter 13 process available to you if you meet the legal eligibility criteria. Most experienced attorneys would probably agree that they would rather have a responsible client who needs time to pay their fees than a bad client who can pay a bigger retainer.
Remember the retainer is the amount to be paid before the case is filed. At our office, if time allows, we will start working on a case for $200.00. The retainer can be broken up into installments.
If you have additional questions about our fees, contact our office by phone or by using the online form on this website - and we may schedule a free consultation. - honakerlegal
Many clients or potential clients ask how Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help foreclosure, and whether Chapter 7 bankruptcy would help with foreclosure. Any bankruptcy petition will generally delay a foreclosure, because the filing of a bankruptcy petition automatically stop all collections activity, including foreclosures. There are exceptions when someone has filed multiple bankruptcies within a certain period, but for any first-time bankruptcy filer, filing bankruptcy automatically stops a foreclosure, even if it is immediately before the foreclosure.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help stop and solve a foreclosure problem altogether, because the filer can use their Chapter 13 plan to catch up on their mortgage payments and bring the loan current. In addition, the filer may be able to eliminate second mortgage or equity lines altogether if the value of the house is less than the balance of the first mortgage.
In short, Chapter 13 bankruptcy offers an immediate stop to foreclosure, and possibilities for completely fixing the forelcosure problem with a simple, low cost solution. At the same time, it can be used to wipe out dis-chargeable debts by paying pennies on the dollar, or to catch up on overdue taxes.
If you are at risk of foreclosure, you should discuss the matter with a bankruptcy attorney so you know your options. - honakerlegal
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Law Office of Jason Honaker