The answer may not be as straight forward as you would expect. Like any service the fee, fee structure, quality of service for the fee paid, level of customer service and the overall quality of the experience will vary greatly depending on your choice of attorney. It is certainly not about price alone.
The payment of a fee to an attorney can be a very good investment for you and your family’s future. However, be aware that fee gimmicks, or the enticement of a low (or zero) initial bankruptcy fee for initially incomplete or potentially cut rate service, can be risky and may actually put you and your family at risk. “Zero Down” or “$399.00 down” Bankruptcy Filing – pricing gimmicks may in fact potentially harm you and your family by providing initially incomplete service, potentially steering you into the wrong type of bankruptcy and ultimately possibly placing your family’s opportunity for a fresh financial start at risk?
You must learn the facts in order to protect yourself and your family.
First, the Attorney Fee policy of Kinkade & Associates
Simply stated the fee policy of Kinkade & Associates is truthful, straight forward and clear: We offer thorough, complete, personalized, professional and effective debt relief service to you and your family at a fair and often lower overall cost than other bankruptcy practitioners in this area. We don’t attempt to entice you with a lowball initial payment with strings attached or potentially steer you into the wrong type of bankruptcy for an increased attorney fee. We don’t cut corners, “save time” by sacrificing the quality of the work performed on your behalf or short change you by providing incomplete or shoddy effort. We don’t perform incomplete work as part of a pricing gimmick.
Instead, we have built our practice around the concept of RESPECT for you and your family and providing to you and your family the best service possible. The respect and service we provide begins with a personalized in-person assessment of your situation and continues through the entire debt relief process. If you hire us, we work for your best interest and do not use price gimmicks or games. Our work is thorough and complete. When you call us, you reach a caring professional. We don’t use a “telephone tree” that requires you to push endless buttons or places you on hold. We adhere to bankruptcy rules. All of this is part of the personal and professional service that we know is important to you. The level of dedication, experience, work ethic, and the desire to operate a law practice that puts your best interests first also varies from attorney to attorney. You have a right to complete information about your situation as well as the most professional representation possible. At Kinkade & Associates we have the experience and are absolutely committed to helping our clients rebuild their financial life. This is not just a slogan. This has been our mission on behalf of clients for the past 17 years of providing debt relief and continues to be our number one priority and goal for each of our clients.
Yes, the amount an attorney charges for their work on a client’s behalf is an important factor to a client. But, there are equally or more important factors for you to consider when choosing a debt relief attorney. As you consider who you will hire as your attorney, we invite you to consider “Our Pledge to Clients,” and our reputation. We invite you to read our article “What to Look for in a Debt Relief Attorney” on our web site. We invite you to set an appointment with an experienced Kinkade & Associates attorney so that we may provide to you complete information about your options instead of “one size fits all” advice or pricing gimmicks that may not be in your best interest or may arguably violate the very rules that control the system you are relying on. We invite you to consider not only our reasonable overall cost but also compare our straight forward approach, level of customer service, knowledge, experience, dedication, reputation and no-nonsense pricing.
But what is the truth about advertising that promises to file bankruptcy for “$399.00?”
Advertising that promises to “File bankruptcy for only $399.00 down” may seem attractive at first glance. However, entrusting your financial future to a “file now pay later” pricing gimmick may not be in your best interests and may actually keep you from getting a fresh financial start.
Some attorneys artificially attempt to “unbundle” bankruptcy services. This means that an attorney offers a written agreement before filing a bankruptcy that artificially divides up the fees for services between “before filing” (usually including the petition – essentially the cover sheet of a bankruptcy case) and “after” the cover sheet is filed with the bankruptcy court. The initial filing is “incomplete.” The completed filing is performed in exchange for a promise to pay fees after the entire case is filed. However, this gimmick carries potential risk for you and your family.
Bankruptcy courts have determined that such an artificial division or “unbundling of services,” with payment of insubstantial fees before the case is filed and an agreement to pay most of the fees after the case is filed, creates a potential conflict of interest between the attorney and the client, may create undue and improper pressure on the client to pay the attorney and may even be directly contrary to the bankruptcy rules. This type of arrangement is disfavored by courts even under the most carefully crafted circumstances. In fact, numerous bankruptcy courts have determined that if an attorney is owed money at the time the case is filed that attorney is a creditor of his or her client and that debt may be subject to discharge as well. Therefore, as a policy matter most attorneys will not file a chapter 7 bankruptcy case until the attorney fees are paid. In Chapter 7 cases it may in fact be a conflict of interest for an attorney to be a creditor in a client’s case. If fees owed to an attorney are subject to the bankruptcy discharge the attorney may not collect or compel the client to pay the attorney for services that are an essential part of the bankruptcy filing process after the case is filed. Your attorney, who you hire to be your advocate, could become your adversary. Perhaps you may be sued by your own attorney! This is not the sort of attorney relationship anyone would want. It is not the kind of relationship that is best for you and your family.
What is the truth about filing bankruptcy for “no money down?”
Some attorneys offer to file a bankruptcy with “no money down.” While this may sound like an attractive option when a person is faced with pressure from creditors, wage garnishment, possible repossession of an automobile or foreclosure it is important to know the typical cost, both short term and long term of this option and whether or not a “no money down” bankruptcy filing is right for you and your family. Despite how attractive it may sound at first glance, “no money down bankruptcy filing” may steer you inappropriately into a Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plan. This is not the right bankruptcy option for everyone and in fact can be potentially detrimental for you and your family if a Chapter 13 repayment plan is not the right option for you. While a Chapter 13 repayment plan may be in your best interests, or it may be the only bankruptcy you qualify for, it may also be true that you are eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, where you simply wipe out debt without payments to unsecured creditors. In general, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is less expensive than Chapter 13 bankruptcy and does not last as long as Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 13 may delay efforts to rebuild your credit after bankruptcy. For a number of reasons Chapter 7 may be a better option for you and your family.
It is important for you to learn what you and your family qualify for and which option best serves you and your family and maximizes your success in rebuilding your financial future. The choice of filing Chapter 13 versus Chapter 7 bankruptcy is one of the most important factors in rebuilding your financial life. I would urge you not to rely alone on information in an on-line ad or on a web site (even this one). Instead, you are much better served by an in-person personalized assessment by an experienced bankruptcy attorney who will guide you in determining whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the best option for you.
What is the best debt relief option for me and my family?
This is a critically important question. The answer to this question can only be reached after you meet with an attorney and discuss your circumstances and your present situation. For this reason, you should not rely on telephone advice or improperly provided legal advice from someone who works at an attorney’s office who is not an attorney, therefore not qualified to assess your situation and advise you on your debt relief options.
The experienced bankruptcy attorneys at Kinkade & Associates would be pleased to meet with you and discuss your situation in a FREE in-person initial strategy. Remember, your free initial strategy session is in person (with appropriate precautions) and with an experienced local bankruptcy attorney that concentrates in debt relief. Your financial future is too important to settle for less than the individual personalized service Kinkade & Associates provides.
Learn your options. Do not fall for on-line or other advertising price gimmicks or “one size fits all advice.” Instead, call Kinkade and Associates to learn what is best for you and your family.