Bankruptcy law forces the attorney to “investigate” a client’s financial affairs closely. This investigation, combined with the preparation, planning and all other work involved in ensuring a case goes well, takes time. More time than it did prior to 2005 when the Bankruptcy Code was dramatically changed.
Both prior to the law change in 2005 and after, a common question attorneys hear is…” how much does it cost”?
The most common answer has stayed the same as well…” it depends”.
It depends because…every case has a different set of facts and every person is unique.
Despite this, we try, as do most attorneys, to set a flat fee for bankruptcy clients after review of the situation as follows:
Under Median Consumer Chapter 7 – $1650-$1800 Over Median Consumer Chapter 7 – $1800-$2100 Under Median Consumer Chapter 13 – as low as $500.00 but typically $1000.00 upfront remainder paid through plan monthly Over Median Consumer Chapter 13 – $1500.00 upfront remainder paid through plan monthly
The following is the non-exhaustive list of work that may add to the attorney fee.
1. Litigation re discharge liens, relief from stay, valuation issues, claim objections, other 2. Reaffirmation issues 3. Redemption issues 4. Amendments/Modifications 5. Conversion of a case 6. Business-related Bankruptcy 7. Tax Related Bankruptcy 8. Second Home Issues 9. Lack of client cooperation 10. Extensive asset planning issues 11.Changes in circumstance 12.Emergencies
If you file for bankruptcy you must also pay the court a filing fee of $299.00 for a chapter 7 case and $274 for a chapter 13 case as well as take two “financial” classes that are about $60.00.
Most attorneys try to break the fees up into payments. Very few if any, will agree to actually finalize a chapter 7 case and file it, without paying the entire fee.