Most clients feel the most difficult part of the process is making the first phone call to contact an attorney. Once the time and day for a consultation is set up, their next concern is what should I do to get ready? If you follow these three steps, you should be well-prepared and can get the most out of your meeting with an attorney.
1. Write down your most pressing questions and concerns as you think of them and bring these notes to the meeting.
A typical consultation lasts around one hour. There is a good chance that the issues and questions you have been troubled by will come up and be answered during the meeting naturally, but sometimes trying to take in all the new information you can get during a meeting will cause things to slip your mind. If you have a written list of what you want to make sure you cover, you can get answers from your best resource, your attorney.
2. Bring relevant paperwork
Just like writing down your questions and concerns takes some of the pressure off you trying to remember everything you want to talk about, bringing paperwork with you means you don’t have to try and remember all the details as you talk to the attorney.
Paperwork relevant for your bankruptcy consultation would include:
- Most current tax return
- Proof of your income, including pay stubs from the last couple of months
- Collection letters
- Court documents from creditors
Sometimes details can change the strategy or outcome your attorney discusses with you, and trying to remember everything you read can create unnecessary stress during the meeting. However, don’t let the lack of paperwork keep you from meeting with a bankruptcy professional to discuss your situation. Checking with someone sooner rather than later can mean the difference between having time to get things in order and having to rush to prevent something from happening that you don’t want to happen.
3. Be ready to have an honest discussion about your financial situation and goals.
Many families are in their current financial crisis due to job layoffs, unexpected medical emergencies resulting in medical bills not 100 percent covered by insurance, divorce, death, or other circumstances beyond their control. All too often people feel guilty or ashamed that they have been driven into financial distress. Bad things happen to good people. And bankruptcy allows people who have suffered a financial crisis to potentially wipe out their debt and start anew.
Your attorney is not here to judge you. Getting all the details makes your attorney the best person to present your case to the court and get you the relief you need. Knowing all the facts also makes your attorney the best person to help you evaluate non-bankruptcy options.
This is why at Martin & Hedervare, we provide a free one-hour consultation to evaluate a potential client’s situation, enabling the client to make an informed decision whether bankruptcy is in their best interest.