Frequently Asked Questions About Bankruptcy

Let Us Answer Your Bankruptcy Law Questions

Filing bankruptcy stops those harassing phone calls and keeps creditors from suing you. Already been sued? Bankruptcy stops collectors from garnishing your wages and taking money from your bank account. For more information, please see our frequently asked questions below and then call or email us for more information and advice. We offer FREE telephone consultations
Attorney handshake with client
Q: Won’t I lose all of my assets if I file for bankruptcy?
A: Most of the time your home, your personal and household items, the tools you use for your work, and even your vehicle are protected or "exempt" from being taken from you when you file for bankruptcy.

If you have valuable things like real estate, cars, toys or a business, there are bankruptcy options that let you keep your things while still helping you with your debt. Our attorneys will talk to you about your specific circumstances to be sure you understand the protections for your assets before you file your bankruptcy case. That way, you can choose the bankruptcy option that’s best for you.

Q: How much will my bankruptcy process cost?
A: People with simple financial situations usually have less expensive cases than those with more complicated financial situations.  We will take your entire situation into consideration when setting our fees.  Ask us about bankruptcy options for business owners and those with special or complicated cases.

Q: Aren’t attorneys expensive? If I can’t afford to pay my bills how can I pay a lawyer?
A: Virtually all of our clients are having financial problems when we meet them. Our job is to be part of your financial solution, not part of the problem. We have spent years making our services affordable for people like you. For most people, bankruptcy is one of the least expensive legal matters they will ever need.

If you have ever gone through a divorce, a custody dispute, or a lawsuit you will probably be very surprised at how quick, painless, and inexpensive a bankruptcy is by comparison. We can usually set up a payment plan that works for you.

Q: What should I look for in a bankruptcy lawyer?
A: First, look for an attorney with significant bankruptcy experience (our senior attorneys both have around 20 years of bankruptcy experience each) who spends most of his or her law practice handling both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies.

Many lawyers don't handle bankruptcy cases due to the complexity of the bankruptcy system. If the attorney’s advertisement lists many different kinds of legal services, find out whether the attorney is a “jack-of-all-trades” or an experienced bankruptcy lawyer.  Your attorney should be able to clearly explain the differences between a Chapter 7 and a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case and should be equally comfortable handling both types of cases.

You might think you just need a “simple bankruptcy” but if the attorney isn’t experienced with both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 they might miss an important option that could have made a huge financial difference to you.  If you save a few hundred dollars on a cheap attorney but lose thousands because the attorney doesn’t protect your assets carefully, you’ve lost money, not saved.  An attorney’s ability and willingness to give you this “extra” level of service is what separates a qualified attorney from a “dabbler” or a high volume Chapter 7 filer.

Second, don’t get “run through the mill” services. Some attorneys offer much cheaper services or handle many more cases than other firms. This kind of “mill” practice usually means the attorney handles dozens of cases at one time and doesn’t spend much time on any one client.

He also probably doesn’t handle complex Chapter 7 cases or Chapter 13 reorganizations, which means he may not have the “tools” to help protect you as much as he could have.  A high-volume filer must cut corners somewhere to manage a low price, high volume practice, so he probably won’t take the time to help you plan the best strategy for filing your case.

Finally, you should feel comfortable with your lawyer and feel confident in your relationship with him and his staff. Even if he's qualified and offers competitive pricing, if you don’t get a good feel working with him, you should keep looking.

Filing a bankruptcy is an important process with long-term consequences. You should feel comfortable asking your attorney questions, talking about the best way to protect your interests, and taking the time needed to do so.  If the attorney’s advice doesn’t sound right to you, then don’t be afraid to keep looking.

Q: I'm a small business owner. If I file for bankruptcy can I keep operating my business?
A: Many of our business-owner clients choose to keep their businesses. The answer for you depends on many factors, including the type of bankruptcy you choose. Ask our attorneys which option work best for your goals.

Q: Can I file for bankruptcy without an attorney?
A: Maybe, but you might not want to. Bankruptcy rules are very technical and a misstep can affect your rights and property.  We have seen many people file bankruptcies without an attorney (or even with attorneys who aren’t used to the bankruptcy system) who wished they hadn’t.  As the saying goes “you don’t know what you don’t know” and you might not find out that your assets weren’t correctly protected until it’s too late.

The US Federal Courts have this to say about representing yourself in your bankruptcy: “Bankruptcy has long-term financial and legal consequences - hiring a competent attorney is strongly recommended.”  See more information from the US Federal Court System about filing bankruptcy without an attorney.

Q: Do you take clients from my area?
A: Morgan Pierce Law Firm represents clients in all of Western Montana and much of central Montana. We represent clients in all of the following counties:
Missoula Division: Flathead, Lake, Lincoln, Mineral, Missoula, Ravalli, and Sanders.
Butte Division: Beaverhead, Broadwater, Deer Lodge, Jefferson, Gallatin, Granite, Lewis & Clark, Madison, Park, Powell, and Silver Bow. 
Great Falls Division: Blaine, Cascade, Choteau, Fergus, Glacier, Hill, Judith Basin, Liberty, Meagher, Phillips, Pondera, Teton, and Toole.

Q: Will I have to go to court or sit in front of a judge?
A: Almost every bankruptcy, especially those filed under Chapter 7 are “administrative”, meaning that you will meet briefly with a bankruptcy trustee to discuss your case. You may not ever have to go to court or see a judge to complete your bankruptcy.

Q: What’s different about Morgan Pierce Law Firm?
A: We know other attorneys offer bankruptcy services in Western Montana, but they are not all the same. Morgan Pierce Law Firm is the only firm with more than one attorney who handles bankruptcies full time.  

That’s right, we are the only one!  Daniel Morgan and Andrew Pierce have practiced Montana bankruptcy and debtor-creditor law for an average of 20 years each, and Rachel Morgan joined the firm in 2017, so with three dedicated bankruptcy attorneys, you'll have help when you need it.  And unlike most attorneys, we focus only on bankruptcy cases.  That's important to you because we have decades of experience handling cases like yours.  

Unlike most other bankruptcy firms, we also have a trained support staff and a licensed paralegal to help with your file.  That means if one of our experienced attorneys is in court or with a client, we have trained staff who knows you and your situation.  If you hire a firm with just one attorney and no staff, what happens if the attorney is sick or on vacation when you need help?

At Morgan Pierce Law Firm, we always have an experienced bankruptcy attorney to help you when it counts and our attorneys share their experience and work together to build the best bankruptcy case for you.  No other bankruptcy firm in Western Montana can match our dedication to providing resources for our clients.
Call us today for a FREE telephone consultation.
Consult the attorneys at Morgan Pierce Law Firm for answers to your bankruptcy questions.  Ask us about our easy payment options.
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