In Georgia, times are tough. Almost 1 in 250 homes go into foreclosure monthly in Georgia according to RealtyTrac (in comparison, about 1 in 850 homes are being foreclosed on monthly in Pennsylvania). The Georgia unemployment rate is higher than the national average, at over 10% (the national average is 9.6% unemployment). This is not to say changes aren't coming and that we are stuck in this situation. The point is that many of us need financial help, and sometimes bankruptcy is an alternative to losing your home or paying insane credit card interest. This is where a lawyer can help. These value points focus on your bottom line.
Value 1, Save Money
A Georgia bankruptcy lawyer can save you more money than you might think. Consider that filing bankruptcy is not about losing money; by nature a successful bankruptcy is supposed to save you money. And a good Georgia bankruptcy lawyer will charge you fair rates - from $1,500 to $2,500 - because he or she knows you don't have huge amounts to spend.
Can you forgo a lawyer and still save money? Yes, just as you can defend against a criminal act without a lawyer. In both cases, you lose valuable time, risk far more money, and likely have no idea how the legal process works. Creditors who want to fight the bankruptcy might take advantage of you, or you may be unaware of certain laws for protecting your home, car, and wages.
Value 2, Save Assets
Protecting assets is important in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 technically liquidates your assets, paying creditors with what money comes out. On the other hand, most have exemptions to protect even the most valuable assets (and a good lawyer helps here too). Chapter 13 is a more effective way to protect your assets, as you can halt all collections, pay on debts over a more manageable period, and stop a foreclosure. If you're unsure if you are eligible for Chapter 7 or how best to protect your home in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a lawyer can educate you.
Value 3, Educate You
Remember in school when you had to choose between courses, electives, and teachers, and decide where you should focus your learning? Like how history may be better if you wanted to be a teacher, or math would be more important for a career in computers. Well, lawyers make choices when they go into law school, as the legal world is full of billions of rules and regulations. They chose to focus on bankruptcy instead of something else. Instead of spending months trying to master every single bankruptcy law, you can focus your efforts on something else, hire a lawyer to explain what you need to know, and use his or her experience to your advantage. If you are a bankruptcy lawyer, you need no education. But if you have no idea what goes on, a lawyer can give you a crash course to better help you make decisions.
Value 4, Protect Your Rights
The automatic stay is used in bankruptcy to protect you from outstanding debts and creditors. It stops all collections against you for the life of the bankruptcy. So if you owe $50,000 in medical debt, and you're getting calls on a daily basis, a bankruptcy can stop these and then discharge the debt. A Georgia bankruptcy lawyer is valuable here in case of problems. The creditors keep calling. The creditors appeal the debt being discharged. Or perhaps your house is about to go into foreclosure. An experienced lawyer can protect you from all these situations and more.
Hiring a lawyer may be the most important decision of your life, no matter what legal problems you face. If you live in Georgia and are considering bankruptcy, remember to put value in how much a lawyer can help you and your family.
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