Your bankruptcy attorney fees will depend largely on the experience of the attorney, the type of bankruptcy case you are filing, the complexity of your case, and the likelihood of complications or litigation.
As a consumer, you have the option of filing a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 petition. If your bankruptcy concerns business debt and you are a sole proprietorship or partnership with personal liability for your business debts, you could file a Chapter 13 so long as you want to continue operating.
Should your business be incorporated, you can file a Chapter 7 to liquidate the company or a Chapter 11 to reorganize it and continue your business activities.
Chapter 7 Fees
Your bankruptcy attorney fees will also depend on where your live. Attorneys practicing in smaller or rural locales will generally charge lower fees than their city counterparts for similar cases. Generally, for a Chapter 7 filing in a case with minimal assets and mostly unsecured debt, you will pay about $500 to $750.
There are services that will charge you fees as low as $99, but you will have minimal assistance in accumulating your needed documents and will receive little to no advice on whether a bankruptcy will discharge all your debts or save your home if you are in danger of foreclosure. You will also have to appear at your First Creditor’s Meeting alone, deal with creditor’s questions alone, and contend with any necessary modifications or unforeseen complications that could jeopardize your case.
Bankruptcy attorney fees in large metropolitan areas can run as high as $2,000 but fees this high are more typical of cases in which there are issues dealing with objections to discharge, fraud allegations, and trustee concerns over exemptions or the value or status of certain property.
Chapter 13 Fees
A Chapter 13 filing will cost you more in fees. It involves preparing an approved financial plan to repay your creditors for a period up to 60-months as well as all other information that would have been included in a Chapter 7 proceeding. Typically, bankruptcy attorney fees in Chapter 13 filings range from $750 to $3,000, depending on where you live and the complexities of your case.
A Chapter 13 can save your home from foreclosure so long as you are able to make the current monthly mortgage payments and pay the arrearages over the term of the payment plan.
Low income debtors can usually find free or low cost legal assistance for bankruptcies at legal aid offices or community programs. Many county bar associations also provide referrals to attorneys who will prepare your petition and represent you at your hearing for low fees or on a pro bono (no-fee) basis.
A Chapter 11 filing is reserved for corporations seeking to remain in business but which need to restructure and pay back their creditors to a certain extent. A corporation of any size would file under this section of the bankruptcy code. Attorneys’ fees typically start at around $5,000 and can be much more costly depending on the corporation’s size, value, assets, debts, and other matters.
Attorneys in these cases may also charge hourly fees, which must be approved by the trustee overseeing the case.