Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Conducting a Financial Triage

Nearly every day, we are contacted by debtors desperately seeking help and answers: "Do I qualify for bankruptcy?" "Will I lose my house?" "Will bankruptcy ruin my credit?" "How long does bankruptcy take?"

Analyzing a debtor's bankruptcy options is like a doctor seeing a patient for the first time. Before the doctor can diagnose and treat a patient, the doctor gets a medical history and conducts tests. Once the test results are in, the doctor can recommend a course of treatment for the disease or condition. A bankruptcy attorney reviews the debtor's financial status, a financial "triage', and recommends a course of action to treat the debtor's financial ailments.

Every case is different. A debtor trying to get caught up on their house payments might be better off in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. A debtor with limited assets and lots of credit card debt might be better off in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

In order to assess a debtor's global financial picture, we begin by asking potential clients to complete an online questionnaire that provides a bird's eye view of a debtor's financial situation. We also request the same types of documents that must be submitted to the court and the bankruptcy trustee to document the debtor's eligibility for bankruptcy. And finally, we conduct a detailed interview and consultation to assess the potential client's needs and goals so that we can create an orderly plan to assist the client.

In some cases, the debtor is facing an emergency that requires fast action such as a foreclosure sale, a wage garnishment or an eviction. Careful analysis of the matter is still required, but an experienced bankruptcy attorney can provide emergency assistance in appropriate circumstances. Our firm is nimble enough to take on emergency cases and can file bankruptcy literally 24 hours a day.

If you are in Southern California and would like more information about our bankruptcy services, please contact us.

About the Author:
Carl H. Starrett II has been a licensed attorney since 1993 and is a member in good standing with the California State Bar and the San Diego County Bar Association. Mr. Starrett practices in the areas of bankruptcy, business litigation, construction, corporate planning and debt collection.

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