is a legal procedure that permits an individual or business to obtain relief
from most or all of their debts. It enables people to seek a solution to their
financial problems through the federal court.
According to the Federal Trade Commission
before you file for bankruptcy you must get credit counseling from a
government-approved organization within 180 days before you file. You also have
to complete a debtor education course before your debts can be discharged.
Credit Counselors and Debtor Educators
can find an approved organization that can provide the credit counseling and
debtor education through the Department of Justice's.
Keep in mind that only the counselors and educators that appear on the U.S.
Trustee Program's lists can advertise that they are approved to provide the
required counseling and debtor education.
about an Attorney?
It is recommended to hire an attorney who specializes in
bankruptcy because it is a legal remedy. The process is difficult and there can
be a chance that you will lose property or other rights if you do not know the
law. It is widely expected that bankruptcy attorneys will increase their fees
for the extra work and liability they will incur under the new bankruptcy law.
It is important, however, that you not choose an attorney based on price alone.
You will find it of benefit to look for an attorney who wants to meet you
individually, answer your questions, and take into account your personal
- If you don't know where to start, ask family, friends, or
colleagues if they can recommend an attorney.
- Check with your local or state bar association, and contact your
Better Business Bureau to request a review before you make your decision.
- Ask your BBB to provide you with a list of bankruptcy attorneys
that are Accredited with the Better Business Bureau.
- Obtain 3 quotes from the bankruptcy attorneys.
Once you select an attorney, read carefully any retainers,
contracts or other documents before signing them.
Bottom line - Don't succumb to shady offers If you want to improve
your financial situation the right way, contact a reputable source for
credit-related information, education or counseling. In addition to your Better Business Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission , The National Foundation for
Credit Counseling, and the Association of Independent
Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies offer helpful tips on credit issues.