The news is always full of celebrity bankruptcy stories. Whether it’s from a bitter divorce, a business deal gone wrong, or simply financial irresponsibility, even the rich and famous aren’t immune to bankruptcy.
In fact, some of the entertainment industry’s most notable — and wealthy — figures have filed for bankruptcy multiple times. Recent studies have found that 8% of those who file for bankruptcy have filed at least once before. For example, business and real estate mogul Donald Trump filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy four times, with the latest filing occurring in 2009. Despite this, Trump remains wildly successful.
Unfortunately, there are many stigmas associated with personal bankruptcy that are founded on myth. In terms of personal bankruptcy filings, the majority are not due to financial mismanagement, but rather illness or medical bills. The American Journal of Medicine reported that 62% of bankruptcy filings in the United States were due to illness or medical bills. In addition, a 2011 study found that 60% of bankruptcy filers earn salaries of less than $30,000.
If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy, it’s important to discuss your options with an experienced local bankruptcy lawyer. While filing for bankruptcy without a bankruptcy lawyer is possible, it’s not advised. Bankruptcy laws can be confusing, especially if you’re not familiar with the legal process of declaring bankruptcy. Additionally, lawyers for bankruptcy understand the ins and outs of the law, and can help you navigate the process of filing. With an attorney, the success rate for Chapter 7 bankruptcy claims is over 95%.
Finding a local bankruptcy lawyer doesn’t have to be difficult. Your state’s bar association can be an invaluable resource in terms of finding a lawyer. With a database that provides further information regarding the educational background and experience of lawyers in your area, the bar association makes the task of finding an attorney less daunting.
Also, when choosing an attorney, it’s important to come prepared to your initial consultation or interview with a list of questions. This will also help you determine which local bankruptcy lawyer is best for your needs.