Bankruptcy Attorney | How much does it cost to File?
Bankruptcy Attorney . For most, filing for bankruptcy comes at a huge emotional cost. But there’s also an initial financial cost to file. How much does it actually cost to file for bankruptcy? Here is an estimated breakdown of all expected expenses you may have to pay for.
The first fees you might be aware of are the administrative fees you’ll pay to the court just from filing. To file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy you will pay $335. For Chapter 13, it’s a fee of $310.
Depending on the complexity of your case and your state’s laws, you’ll see a range of attorney fees if you decide to hire one. For example, a standard Chapter 7 case that involves one source of income and few assets is the least complex for an attorney to file, and would probably cost between $900 to $2,000. If you have many assets or own a business, your case would be more complicated and an attorney might ask for up to $5,000.
A Chapter 13 case usually involves a blend of flat rates and hourly rates, and are largely dependent on “no look” fees that vary from state to state. You might see fees from $2,000 to $5,500, again depending on the complexity of your situation.
However, it’s important to not settle for the cheapest available attorney: usually, their lower fees are an indication of their experience, or that they might delegate complex parts of your case to others. It’s important to speak with a bankruptcy attorney who has years of experience and familiarity with your chapter. Most offer free inital consultations where you can ask about this (among other questions).
In addition to court and attorney fees, you’ll also end up paying for a lot of other filing components. You’ll have to pay for the required credit counseling certificate and debtor education course. Some filers have paid between $30-$50 for each course, but we offer a low cost of just $24.99 and $21.99 if you complete the courses online. And though you can get a free credit report once a year from the three major credit reporting agencies, you might have to pay $50 for a report if you’ve maxed out of free ones. Then, there are the costs for comparables or appraisals on your real estate. While comparables might cost around $20, appraisals can go for as much as $500.
You’ll also pay extra fees if you make any mistakes or changes during your filing. For example, if you forgot to add a creditor to your case you’ll have to pay $30 extra to add them. Or, if you want to change from filing a Chapter 7 to a Chapter 13 (or vice versa), that’s an extra $25. If you have to reopen your case, that’s $245 more for Chapter 7 and $235 for Chapter 13. Therefore, it pays to be diligent, get your paperwork in order, and make sure you’re getting the right advice.
Paying All These Fees
It can be scary to tally up all these fees and see that you’ll pay over a thousand dollars from filing, but in many cases you don’t have to pay straight out-of-pocket. Many attorneys will offer a payment plan, though you will need to pay all attorney fees upfront in a Chapter 7 case before the attorney files. In Chapter 13, you’re more likely to pay a down payment to get the case filed, and then your attorney receives monthly payments from your Chapter 13 repayment plan to your trustee.
Overall, the real financial costs will depend on the route you take and how you handle your filing. And even though these costs add up and can be stressful to see, it’s important to remember that they can help you get out of a tough financial situation, especially if your filing releases you from some debt obligations.
Many choose to use their tax refunds to pay for their bankruptcy fees–just think of this extra money as your ticket to becoming debt free instead of accumulating more debt.
For more information, visit our website for educational resources, to get connected with an experienced local bankruptcy attorney, and complete your bankruptcy certificates.