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The number one cause of bankruptcy is job loss
It’s no secret that bankruptcy attorneys have their costs. But attorney fees when you file for bankruptcy are more of an investment for your financial future than plain attorney charges. So, in short, the cost of a bankruptcy attorney to improve your financial situation is worth it.
However, saying that you should never be paying an excessive amount, even if it’s a complex bankruptcy case. In this article, we hope to prevent you from ever overpaying for a bankruptcy attorney, and we’ll break down attorney costs, including hourly fees, flat fees, and other payment plans. We promise by the end of this, you will be well-informed when looking to see if your local attorney is charging a fair price for their work.
60% of bankruptcy filers make less than $30,000
Before you start working with your bankruptcy attorney and begin your bankruptcy filing process, you need to understand the basics of attorney fees to ensure the filing fees presented to you are fair.
The average attorney fee for filing bankruptcy ranges from $500 – $3,000. Factors like location, case complexity, and attorney experience can affect the cost of filing bankruptcy. Below, we cover the following factors:
Location – Bankruptcy attorneys located in urban/expensive areas tend to have higher bankruptcy costs. The reason for this is they also have higher fees for keeping their location. On the flip side, a bankruptcy attorney located in a cheaper part of town could provide lost filing fees.
Case Complexity – Depending on the complexity involved in filing bankruptcy for you, higher attorney fees may be present. Most attorneys, after putting in a heavy workload into your case, may feel entitled to a higher cost.
Attorney’s Experience – If you seek an experienced lawyer to handle your bankruptcy process, you may face a higher fee. Experienced bankruptcy lawyers bring skill and knowledge and often have many other bankruptcy cases their working on. However, even though it is more expensive, an experienced bankruptcy attorney brings a better outcome to your bankruptcy case.
Continuing the factors that could affect your attorney fees, we explore additional factors like bankruptcy chapter type and how an attorney’s negotiation skills can help save you a few hundred dollars.
Types of Bankruptcy – The type of bankruptcy chapter you are filing for could affect your bankruptcy cost. For example, Chapter 7 bankruptcy which is used to handle most unsecured debt, generally proceeds faster and requires less work, while Chapter 13 requires a heavier workload.
Negotiation Skills – If you work with a bankruptcy lawyer with excellent negotiation skills, you could see yourself saving money by the lawyer working with creditors to reduce debts.
Most bankruptcy attorneys work on the flat fee structure, but you may come across an attorney who works on a different structure for bankruptcy filing. That’s why it’s important to understand all the possible fee structures listed below.
How It Works – This common fee structure works where the attorney charges a fixed, upfront fee for the entire bankruptcy filing process. This approach gives one cost to file bankruptcy, no surprises.
Pros – The cost to file bankruptcy is one payment, and you’ll not receive any unexpected fees.
Cons – The only real con involved is for the attorney as they gamble that the bankruptcy case will not take an unexpected turn and cost more time and effort that exceeds their pay.
How It Works – In this structure, you’ll be charged based on the amount of time the attorney spends on your case.
Pros – It can save money as you, the client, only pay for the actual time and work the bankruptcy lawyer puts into your case.
Cons – The bill can escalate if you are working with an inexperienced bankruptcy lawyer or your bankruptcy case takes a large amount of time to finish.
How It Works – In this fee structure, attorney fees are broken down into payments that are paid over an agreed amount of time.
Pros – It makes the financial burden of hiring a bankruptcy lawyer easier by making the payment into smaller chunks over a period of time.
Cons – Payment plans like this could have been the reason you are even filing for bankruptcy.
When working with a bankruptcy lawyer, do not be afraid to negotiate the payment plan and make one that works for you.
Many bankruptcy lawyers may offer a hybrid or customized plan to fit your situation that could save you money or at least improve your financial situation. It starts with you asking.
Chapter 7 – $338
Chapter 9 – $1,738
Chapter 11 – $1,738
Chapter 12 – $278
Chapter 13 – $313
Chapter 15 – $1,738
If you are not located in Nevada and want to see how much your bankruptcy court charges to file for bankruptcy, Google the following search template “Bankruptcy Court Filing Fees [STATE]“.
The Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the liquidation of assets to pay off debts. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most common form of bankruptcy used in bankruptcy law, and that’s why we find it so important to cover the costs of Chapter 7.
We will be referencing the Nevada bankruptcy court as our office is located in Nevada. The cost to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nevada is $338. The breakdown of that fee for individuals is below:
1st installment of $80 is due within 5 business days upon filing of the petition.
2nd of $80 within 60 days of filing the petition.
3rd of $80 within 90 days of filing the petition.
4th of $98 no later than 120 days after filing the petition.
When filing a Chapter 7 with a bankruptcy lawyer, the filing fee could range from $1,000 to $1,450.
Research can save you hundreds
Like anything else dealing with financial affairs, before you make a decision, you must do your research. The same applies when filing for bankruptcy; you must research the attorney’s fees before. Below we give ways you can see what a lawyer’s fees are.
Many bankruptcy lawyers offer free initial consultation. Use that offer to your advantage and explain to the attorney your situation. In return, the attorney will explain the best bankruptcy process for you and give you their fees and payment plan. This is the best possible way to get the exact attorney fee.
Some bankruptcy law firms may provide a fee estimate on their website. Additionally, legal directory websites that list the attorney or office may provide a price estimate.
However, it’s important to understand that the attorney fees of a bankruptcy law office shown on a website are simply an estimate and can change from case to case.
Credit counseling is a required step in the bankruptcy filing process. Credit counseling is aimed to help keep you out of the bankruptcy system. Credit counseling can cost from $50 to $100 for each session.
If you wondering where to find a credit counseling course or debtor education course that can fit your situation, the United States Courts have provided options here.
The house will always win.
Are you facing overwhelming debt in Nevada, like medical debt, credit card debt, or other personal debts, and seeking debt relief? Contact the bankruptcy lawyers at Rodney Okano Law Office today.
With over 20 years of experience, we have helped hundreds receive full debt relief and live better lives. Many bankruptcy attorneys offer that they will file bankruptcy for you, but few go beyond that and ensure that your financial future is safe. We care about you beyond a client and will work to give you the easiest, fastest, and most effective experience.
If you are in financial debt in Las Vegas, contact us today at (702) 565-3060 and schedule a free consultation today.
Can I file for bankruptcy for free?
While bankruptcy incurs costs, fee waivers for court filing fees may be available for those facing extreme financial hardship.
Can I file for bankruptcy without hiring an attorney?
Technically, yes. However, bankruptcy law is complex, and navigating it without professional guidance can lead to costly mistakes.
Are credit counseling courses mandatory
Yes, credit counseling courses are mandatory in the bankruptcy process. Costs typically range from $50 to $100 per session.