The very word can send chills up your spine. Many people fear filing for bankruptcy because they dread the thought of being ruined financially. What will this mean for my family? How will it affect my employment or business opportunities moving forward?
As is with so many things in life, two more burning questions come to mind: “How much does bankruptcy cost?” And “Will I have to give up all of my assets?” The answers to these last two may surprise you.
First, bankruptcy may not cost as much as you might think. While the cost factor will vary depending on the situation, the idea that you will lose all of your assets is just a myth. Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy law you may have to liquidate some of your assets but you will also find that many of your assets are exempt. Not only that, filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 13 requires zero asset liquidation!
Filing for bankruptcy is not as financially destructive as you might imagine. However, there are some costs you will need to consider.
Under Wisconsin law you don’t actually have to hire an attorney to file for bankruptcy. This is called filing pro se. However, one of the big downsides to taking this route is that you might find yourself vulnerable to push-back from creditors and other issues. This is where an experienced attorney can help guide you through the process efficiently and help you avoid obstacles along the way while keeping creditors at bay at the same time.
At the end of the day, hiring an attorney might end up saving you money. Each time you have a setback in the process that kicks you back to the starting line will cost you more money lost in interest and late payments that you will have to deal with in bankruptcy.
Again, the price of filing fees vary depending on the type of bankruptcy but if you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy that fee is $335. If you file Chapter 13 bankruptcy the fee is $310. These fees are the same whether you are filing alone or jointly with your spouse and the fees are subject to change. Sometimes the court will allow you to pay the fees in installments.
Credit Counseling Fees
When filing for bankruptcy the state of Wisconsin requires you to take a credit counseling session beforehand. Then, before you are discharged you must take an additional debt management course. The cost for each of these services will depend on who is offering them. The classes are available online or you can take them over the phone and, under Wisconsin law, the providers are required to offer reduced rates or fee waivers in certain situations.
During the bankruptcy process you may incur a variety of other fees. For example, if you miss a creditor in the initial filing and need to add it in there may be an extra fee. Should you need to file a motion may also require a fee. By hiring an experienced attorney you can save yourself a lot of headaches and cut your risk of extra fees because your attorney will very carefully review your particular situation to make sure that nothing is missed from the very start.
For more information about bankruptcy and how we can help you, call Milwaukee Bankruptcy attorney Michael Burr and the experts at the Burr Law office at (262) 827-0375.