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What You Need to Know About Getting Legal Representation

Legal Representation

As is usually the case, some individuals may need lawyers for a highly specific function due to their training and experience. These legal professionals will know more about their field or a more general branch of the law than clients would anticipate. Such is the case with those facing bankruptcy court.

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney is expected to be proficient in all aspects of bankruptcy law. As such, he or she might be able to help petitioners avoid the liquidation of their assets. Of course, a Chapter 7 lawyer is a professional and would gladly accept remuneration in exchange for his or her legal know-how. Just the same, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney is, at least theoretically, a servant of the public interest and may yet stand to gain something from a paid consultation.

Certainly, there are alternatives to Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and a Chapter 7 lawyer can advise an applicant on his or her best course of action. For example, analysis of a person's claim may reveal that Chapter 11 or Chapter 13 is a more appropriate route to take.

Once proceedings in bankruptcy court begin, a Chapter 7 lawyer can also be an advocate for their clients, especially regarding exempt properties that are aggressively pursued by creditors. Certain assets more or less owned by petitioners, notably benefits like Social Security and investments, may not be touched by collectors in the event of wholesale liquidation. In fact, as recently as 2005, the Supreme Court weighed in on the subject, stating in their majority ruling in Rousey v. Jacoway that the contents of Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) are off-limits when assets are reclaimed.

As proceedings become more adversarial, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney will be an invaluable defender and supporter. Over the years, bankruptcy courts in the United States have gotten much more apt to prosecuting perceived cases of abuse of bankruptcy law. If a defendant is found to have failed the "means test" regarding their viability for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a Chapter 7 lawyer can lead the way in rebutting this charge, pointing out reasons by which income or expenses should be recalculated to reflect a more accurate depiction of the individual's financial status.

NEXT: What You Should Know About Chapter 7 Liquidation

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