File Fast Bankruptcy – Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
For the vast majority of cases, Parker & DuFresne, P.A. has traditionally charged an attorney fee of $1,500 to represent a debtor in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy from beginning to end. This fee can vary, either upward or downward, depending on your individual financial circumstances.
Under our File Fast option, P&D charges only $249 for all bankruptcy services up to and including the “filing” of the bankruptcy. Our clients always need legal assistance after the case gets filed, so the balance of our traditional fee is $1,250, which is due after filing. As explained below, the balance can be paid in monthly installments.
Can I pay my Chapter 7 attorney’s fee in installments?
Historically, bankruptcy judges have required debtors to pay their entire attorney fee prior to filing bankruptcy. Judges have determined that a lawyer who collects any part of his bankruptcy fee after the bankruptcy filing is attempting to collect a pre-bankruptcy debt that is automatically included in the bankruptcy. This has caused undue hardship on many consumers who need to file bankruptcy right away but do not have the entire attorney fee available.
HOWEVER, based upon a recent ruling by a Tampa bankruptcy judge, P&D is now offering an option to consumers to file a bankruptcy even before the entire bankruptcy attorney fee is paid.
How does the File Fast Bankruptcy option work?
P&D will offer two sets of services to consumers: Pre-filing Bankruptcy Services and Post-Filing Bankruptcy Services. The debtor who wishes to pay the Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney fee in installments, including payments after the filing of the bankruptcy, will sign a “Pre-Filing” Contract for services rendered up to and including the filing of a Chapter 7. This contract will require the payment of a flat attorney’s fee in the amount of $249. As part of the flat pre-filing fee, P&D will prepare and file your bankruptcy.
Once the bankruptcy is filed, you will decide whether to hire P&D to continue representing you throughout the bankruptcy process. Bankruptcy is complicated, and our clients always need legal assistance after the case gets filed. Because you will want us to continue the legal representation, you execute a “Post-Filing” contract thatwill allow you to pay our post-bankruptcy attorney fee in 5 monthly installments of $250 each. These payments must be paid by automatic deduction from your bank account on the same day of the month for the next 5 months. Because you entered into this fee agreement after you filed bankruptcy, the post-filing attorney fee is not discharged, and we can legally accept the monthly payments.
If the two-contract procedure seems silly, we have to agree with you. We believe the relationship between a debtor and his bankruptcy lawyer is unique, and it makes no sense to have to devise a roundabout way of allowing a payment plan in Chapter 7. The good news is that we can achieve this result with the File Fast Bankruptcy program.
Do I have to qualify for the installment option?
Yes, you do, but it’s easy. You just have to provide proof of employment or receipt of other regular monthly income, and you must have a bank account. You must also authorize us to withdraw the monthly installment from that account.
Do I have to select the installment option?
No, you can pay our entire attorney fee prior to filing the Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Do you offer an installment option for Chapter 13 bankruptcy?
Yes, we do. The Bankruptcy Code allows a debtor to pay attorney fees after the Chapter 13 bankruptcy is filed. So, we have very flexible options for the payment of Chapter 13 attorney fees.
What are the other costs to be paid prior to filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
The Chapter 7 filing fee is $306.00. A credit counseling certificate is required to file, and we have located the least expensive provider in the United States. The total cost is only $20.00 for either individual or joint debtors (this fee includes both the pre-filing and the pre-discharge counseling). The counseling is done online, and you can complete it in the privacy of your home, or at our office.
Although it isn’t mandatory, we highly recommend that we obtain your tri-merged credit report at a cost of $35 per debtor. The credit report is electronically merged directly into our bankruptcy software, ensuring greater accuracy of account numbers and mailing addresses for your creditors. Also, if you forget to include a creditor, the cost of adding that creditor after we file the case is greater than the cost of the report.
You must provide your last three (3) years of tax returns to the Chapter 7 Trustee who will oversee your case. If you do not want to track down your complete tax returns for the last three tax years, we highly recommend that you pay the $33 fee to order a tax transcript directly from the IRS. This will substitute the need to find all those tax returns.
In summary, you can get your Chapter 7 bankruptcy filed for as little as $249 in attorney fees and $326 in costs, for a total of only $575!