Q: I think I need to file for bankruptcy but don’t know anything about hiring a lawyer. Can I do it through on online legal site?
A: Yes, many online legal services sites actually offer bankruptcy packages, which include an attorney to represent you. The top two sites that we reviewed, LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer, both have bankruptcy options and free advice for anyone considering bankruptcy. Here’s a quick breakdown of some details you’ll need to help decide on a site and a plan:
Price: Oddly enough, filing for bankruptcy is expensive. Filing for Chapter 7 can cost you between $800 and $2500 just for attorney’s fees depending on the state, and that’s not counting the filing fee, which is usually around $300. LegalZoom‘s prices are in the same ballpark, but they save you the trouble of looking for a lawyer yourself, and the up-front pricing is good peace of mind. Rocket Lawyer will actually help you find a local lawyer and give you a 40% discount on their services, but you have to sign up for their monthly-fee service, which is $19.95/month. (Although, you can cancel after one month.)
Free Consultation: Both LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer offer free consultations with a lawyer before you even start. LegalZoom asks you to fill out a questionnaire which will help with your free bankruptcy evaluation. Rocket Lawyer actually asks you to fill out the bankruptcy documents beforehand (they will assist you with this) and then your lawyer will perform a free review of those documents.
Bankruptcy advice: If you are not sure what you want to do yet and need more information about bankruptcy, both LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer have answers to frequently asked questions. Rocket Lawyer does one better and has many articles and tools to help you with your bankruptcy, including documents to help you get ready for bankruptcy like a response letter to the IRS, and a free bankruptcy worksheet that can help you determine the terms of your bankruptcy.
Bottom line: If you are exploring the idea of bankruptcy and want some free guidance, try LegalZoom‘s online questionnaire and free consultation to get you started. If you know you want to file bankruptcy and just need help with the documents and legal issues, you can sign up for Rocket Lawyer, pay the $19.95/month and get 40% off a local lawyer that Rocket Lawyer will help you find.