San Diego Bankruptcy Legal Fees Chapter 7 Chapter 13

San Diego Bankruptcy Legal Fees for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 legal representation

BANKRUPTCY EXPENSES | CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY LEGAL FEES | CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCY LEGAL FEES

CHAPTER 7 SAN DIEGO BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY LEGAL FEES:

Being cash strapped might mean being tempted to seek out and hire the cheapest San Diego Bankrutcy Lawyer in town. But please do consider that “cheap” fees can also mean that the counsel is inexperienced, outsourcing parts of the work and relying on unlicensed unqualified staff to handle important client matters and communications, overwhelmed while handling too many cases, cost cutting services too close to the bone.  Therefore also consider carefully other important factors in making your decision of hiring an appropriate attorney for your bankruptcy representation.  The worst savings are those that end up costing more.

 

TYPES OF BANKRUPTCY CASES LEGAL FEES Typical situation of client
DISCOUNTED/CHEAP STRAIGHT FORWARD UNCOMPLICATED CASES $1,200-1,300 Unemployed, disabled, social security recipient, uncomplicated straight forward cases with little to no income and little to no assets.
AVERAGE & TYPICAL BANKRUPTCY CASES $1,500-1,700 Most cases fall into this category, they don’t contain significant number of creditors, household income is close to or below median income, no real estate assets, may have a couple of vehicle loans
PREMIUM, SOPHISTICATED BANKRUPTCY CASES 1,800+ These are more sophisticated cases with perhaps significant assets, real estate properties, have many creditors, household income that exceeds CA Median, may have several financial accounts (checking, saving, investment, retirement), may include non exempt assets, have pending lawsuits, marital dissolution, other pending litigation debtors may be business owners, there are anticipated challenges from creditors or trustee, case skirts some poorly defined or untested areas of the law

TLC RESERVES THE RIGHT TO QUOTE FEES AFTER A FULL REVIEW OF A POTENTIAL CASE. 

How are legal fees calculated?

  • How many creditors are there? Is the information about the accounts difficult to track down?
  • Is the household income above California Median triggering Means Testing?
  • Are there assets SECURED WITH loans?
  • Are there taxes owed?
  • Is there a pending foreclosure or repossesion?
  • Is the income from self employment or are there multiple sources of income to examine, caculate and document?
  • Are the financial documents provided organized
  • Is the client able to utilize technology to communicate with your attorney and provide documents (pull online bank statements send PDF files or email or fax documents as needed)?
  • Are there legal or factual issues that create challenges?
  • Are there special circumstances like special filing dates or pre bankruptcy planning that demands special or extra work/time.

INCLUDED IN CHAPTER 7 LEGAL FEES

  • Review of Documents. Consultation and Advice (often most critical and time consuming)
  • Expeditious Petition Preparation
  • Review, Execution, and Filing of Petition Documents with the Southern District of California Court
  • Communications with you on Status of your case
  • Timely submitting required documentation to the Trustee
  • Negotiating/Executing reaffirmation agreement on auto loans Attendance
  • Representation at the Creditor’s Meeting
  • Filing of Post Filing Documents as needed
  • Attendance post filing Court Hearings (reaffirmation agreements, confirmation meetings)
  • Promptly Communicating with you on Status and Progress of Your Case Ensuring the Case closes after discharge

CHAPTER 13 SAN DIEGO BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY LEGAL FEES:

Legal Fees: $4,350. Lien Strip motion or stipulation to Lien Strip, if applicable, $625 plus expenses such as: Title Search (if needed), Service of Notice on Creditors, County Clerk’s Filing fees.

Unlike Chapter 7, in Chapter 13 attorney fees can be paid in full up-front or partially paid up-front with remaining fees to be paid paid through the Chapter 13 Payment Plan. TLC typically accepts $1,650 up front and collects rest of fee after the plan is confirmed. Keep in mind, that attorney will receive no further compensation until the Plan is confirmed, which depending on your case can take a couple of months or longer.

Beware of Attorneys demanding Chapter 13 legal fees be paid up front: If attorney insists on all Chapter 13 legal fees to be paid up front, it could mean they have little or NO confidence in a successful case confirmation otherwise they could wait to be paid out of the plan funds? More importantly, filing a case destined to fail can be have negative consequences besides a loss of time and money.

INCLUDED IN CHAPTER 13 LEGAL FEES

  • Review of Documents.
  • Consultation and Advice: often the most critical and time consuming because success of any Chapter 13 depends on proper planning, budgeting, and a debtor’s commitment & ability to stick with a budget
  • Expeditious Petition Preparation including a Chapter 13 Payment Plan
  • Review, Execution, and Filing of Petition Documents with the Southern District of California Court
  • Pro-Active and Frequent Communications with you on Case Status
  • Timely submission of documentation to the Trustee, as required by Local Rules Attendance & Representation at a Creditor’s Meeting (including any continued meetings)
  • Filing of Lien Strip Motion, attending hearing if needed, filing of Lien Strip order
  • Filing of Post Filing Documents as needed
  • Attendance post filing Court Hearings (confirmation hearings, lien strip motion hearings)
  • Promptly Communicating with you on Status and Progress of Your Case
  • Prompt Filing of Confirmation Order
  • Attorney responsibilities in the case continue while the case remains open (Please read: Rights and Responsibilities of Chapter 13 Debtor describing parameters for “initial $4,350 fees & additional services that may be required but are not included in the initial fees)
  • Ensuring the Case closes after discharge.

BEFORE HIRING A BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY THE ATTORNEY BY LAW MUST PROVIDE YOU:

  1. ATTORNEY/CLIENT AGREEMENT: with both A) Legal Fees and B) Scope of Representation CLEARLY spelled out and
  2. BANKRUPTCY DISCLOSURES legally required by Bankruptcy Rules

BEFORE CONSULTING WITH A BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY:

  1. CHECK IF THE ATTORNEY IS LICENSED TO PRACTICE AND THAT LICENSE IS IN GOOD STANDING THE STATE BAR OF CALIFORNIA (Red Flag: previous complaints, examinations, or license suspensions)
  2. CHECK ONLINE CLIENT REVIEWS:Better Business Bureau, Google, Yelp, Avvo, Nolo, (Red Flag: complaints)
  3. CHECK IF THAT BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY IS A MEMBER OF PROFESSIONAL LEGAL BANKRUPTCY ASSOCIATIONS National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, San Diego Bankruptcy Forum/California Bankruptcy Forum (Red Flag: lack of membership in these associations suggests that perhaps this attorney is not very active in the practice of bankruptcy, typically attorneys join groups specific to their area of practice to obtain discounted continuing education requirements, updates on legal precedents, mingle with other attorneys in the area of practice to share knowledge and experience)
  4. CHECK STATUS AND NUMBER OF CASES THE ATTORNEY HAS FILED WITH THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT SAN DIEGO BANKRUPTCY COURT PACER (Red flag: either little or no cases have been filed or there is a pattern of filed cases ending in dismissals)

BANKRUPTCY COSTS, EXPENSES RESPONSIBILITY OF CLIENT:

BANKRUPTCY EXPENSES AMOUNT PAID TO
Bankruptcy Credit Report $33 SINGLE

$66 JOINT SPOUSES

CinLegal
Credit Counseling Course $14.95 Counseling Agency
Court Filing Fee CHAPTER 7: $335 CHAPTER 13: $310 Court fee MAY be split into 2 payments. Fee Waiver is possible in some situations *Attorney will discuss fee waiver application if it is appropriate.
Financial Management Course $9.95 Counseling Agency

* List of All US Trustee Approved Financial Counseling Providers, Other Court Fee Schedule (may or may not be applicable)