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What to Expect in Your Bankruptcy Consultation

by Erin B. Shank

As a Texas bankruptcy attorney, I’ve seen families come into my office unsure of what to expect and wondering what, if anything, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy could mean for them and their future. My goal is always to ensure their questions are answered and ideally, to ensure they leave with a far better outlook for their future than when they arrived. There are typically a few common denominators, even though each client is different. There are consistent and universal truths, however, and this week, I take a look at a few of them so that you too can have a better idea of what to expect in your first initial bankruptcy consultation.

Bankruptcy Doesn’t Eliminate Your Buying Power

Clients frequently hesitate to consider filing a bankruptcy case because of the many misconceptions they have about the process and the long-term consequences of filing for bankruptcy. One of the biggest misconceptions is that they will never again be able to buy anything on credit. That’s simply not true. I am able to assist clients purchase replacement vehicles during their Chapter 7 case or immediately after they receive their Chapter 7 discharge. I’ll cover those unique considerations during our initial consultation. You have many more options than you realize; unfortunately, the myths are often bigger than the reality.

I’m Alone in This Process

Many believe they’re the only ones filing bankruptcy and they’re sure there’s no one who understands just how overwhelming debt can be. In recent years bankruptcy filings have reached historical highs, due in large part to the recession the United States endured over the past five years. There were nearly 545,000 bankruptcies filed in the U.S. in 2020. Not only that, but some of the wealthiest and most recognized people in the world have used bankruptcy to help protect what they’ve worked for. Bankruptcy, unfortunately, has a stigma attached to it that’s both unfair and unrealistic. Everyone wants the security in knowing one has a home, a job, and a few material possessions and no one asks to have financial burdens placed on them.

My Life is on Hold Until This is Behind Me

Did you know that a chapter 7 bankruptcy takes, on average, about 90 days – start to finish? In fact, in the vast majority of cases clients who file Chapter 7 bankruptcy never even see the Bankruptcy Judge. They have one meeting with the Bankruptcy Trustee, who is a local attorney, within 20 to 40 days after the case is filed. The Discharge Order is then mailed to them by the Bankruptcy Clerk’s Office about  65 days later. I understand how nervous a client can be when he or she thinks that she will be going to “court” after I have filed their case. However, in Chapter 7 cases, “court” is a brief meeting with another lawyer. I will be there the entire time and will make certain that everything that day runs smoothly. My clients almost universally look at me after their meeting with the Trustee and say “that’s it?”

“I Play by Different Rules. I’m in the Military.”

That’s true, but I’ve represented literally thousands of members of our nation’s military over the years. I understand the unique circumstances and challenges associated with military bankruptcies. Taking proactive measures with your finances won’t jeopardize your military career.

Want to learn more about how I and my team can help with your financial goals? Contact my office today to learn more about bankruptcy protection.

erin b shank

I have been practicing exclusively bankruptcy law in Texas for almost 40 years. Unlike most other law firms, my firm is exclusively dedicated to helping individuals and small businesses find a way out of their financial difficulties through the use of our nation’s bankruptcy laws.

Associations & Awards
  • Client Companion Award | Erin B. Shank
  • Avvo Review Badge
  • Preeminent Award | Erin B. Shank
  • avvo
  • state bar of texas
  • avvo
  • Avvo Top Attorney Badge
  • GreaterWacoChamber
  • nacba
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