Choosing A Lawyer
At Milly Whatley, P.C., we have helped hundreds of individuals and businesses in Bend, Deschutes County, and throughout Central Oregon find relief from the pressure of creditors and debt through Chapter 7, Chapter 13, and other forms of bankruptcy. Whether to file for bankruptcy may well be one of the most significant decisions you will make. A well-planned, well-prepared bankruptcy can rid you of burdensome debt without complications, stress, or humiliation. A poorly-planned, poorly-timed, or shoddily-prepared bankruptcy can result in loss of hard-earned assets and/or denial of discharge of your debts. The first most important step to take is choosing the right lawyer to work with you.
Choose A Lawyer, Not A Substitute
As you prepare to select a law office to represent you in bankruptcy, ask whether you will be consulting with an attorney or a non-attorney staff person. Attorneys are required to complete college and law school, pass a bar exam, attend an average of 15 hours of continuing legal education programs per year, and carry malpractice insurance. The terms “paralegal” and “legal assistant,” on the other hand, are not defined under Oregon law. For persons who call themselves paralegals or legal assistants, there are no minimum requirements for education or experience; no exam or licensing; no requirement for ongoing education; and no requirement to carry malpractice insurance.
Many law offices rely on paralegals, legal assistants, or, even worse, computers, to analyze your financial situation and make recommendations for your bankruptcy. Milly Whatley does business the old-fashioned way. She sets aside a full hour to meet personally with each new client, and another hour to review and sign the bankruptcy documents. This allows her to answer all your questions, determine the best timing for filing your bankruptcy, and give you the best advice on how to protect your assets. At Milly Whatley, P.C., our goal is to achieve for you the best result possible with the least amount of stress.
Choose a Local Attorney
Milly Whatley has been a resident of Bend, Oregon since 1998. She has established excellent working relationships with other local lawyers, CPAs, financial advisors, and even creditors. The focus of her law practice is providing bankruptcy assistance to residents of Deschutes, Crook, Jefferson, Harney, and Wheeler counties.
Milly does not have multiple offices throughout the state; she is here when you need her. Her only office is conveniently located on NE Division Street in Bend, has ample free parking, and is handicap accessible. Saturday appointments are available.
At Milly Whatley, P.C., we rely on local merchants, vendors, and professionals for the assistance we need in keeping our law office up and running. Our earnings go right back into supporting the local community.
Choose an Experienced Attorney
Contrary to popular belief, bankruptcy is not simply a matter of filling out forms. In many cases an action taken before bankruptcy, such as transferring your automobile to your daughter or repaying a debt to your dad, can have unintended consequences when you rush into bankruptcy. Many times people fail to disclose something – such as a personal injury claim – that they did not realize was an asset for bankruptcy purposes. Moreover, many of the terms and questions on the bankruptcy forms are confusing, even to experienced practitioners.
Milly Whatley has focused her practice on bankruptcy since 2001. She has over fifteen years of experience with the bankruptcy trustees and judges who handle cases for Central Oregon. Her education and practical experience have given her acute insight into how the “gray areas” of bankruptcy law can be safely handled. Local bar associations frequently ask her to speak to their memberships about bankruptcy law, and she has also lectured on bankruptcy law at the request of the Oregon State Bar.
Choose an Attorney with Experience in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, even if you Expect to File Chapter 7
Most people who file bankruptcy should and do file under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code. At first blush Chapter 7 is far more appealing than filing under Chapter 13 and making payments to a Chapter 13 trustee for three to five years. However, a Chapter 13 may be able to accomplish many things a Chapter 7 cannot. It is important to choose an attorney who understands the benefits of each and can advise you appropriately after analyzing your own unique situation.
Chapter 13 is a complex process, and many lawyers who provide bankruptcy assistance choose not to go there. Because they have little knowledge of and no experience in Chapter 13, they cannot advise you if this is a better alternative for you than Chapter 7. Milly Whatley has over 15 years’ experience in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. She is well aware of the legal requirements, the trustee’s policies, and the judges’ inclinations. Milly’s goal in each case is to put the client in the best possible financial situation during and upon completion of the bankruptcy.
The most common lament we hear from clients is, “I never thought I would be here.” We understand that bankruptcy was never on your list of lifetime accomplishments. At Milly Whatley, P.C., we do not demand to know why you are in debt or why you can’t pay your bills. We provide confidential, compassionate assistance to people in financial difficulty. We provide bankruptcy with dignity. Call today to schedule an appointment.