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Can I change Attorneys in a bankruptcy

Las Vegas, NV |

I started my Chapter 13 bankruptcy with one of those "TV" advertised attorneys here in Las Vegas. Big mistake. They are not looking out for MY best interests. I am one of the thousands of clients in their fast food network of filings. Can I change attorneys even though they started the process last year? They said I cannot change my initial decision on the surrendering of property in my bankruptcy without court approval and will not recommend an "Approved" reason for the court to agree. I want to short sale the property now, not surrender it. The bank has not even started the surrender process from their end and its 1 yr later.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Certainly you can change attorneys. You live in the "Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave." You don't need to state a reason. You simply need to find an attorney willing to take over your case. This costs money so you need a really good reason to do it. Regrettably most Chapter 13 attorneys are "mills" so that they can be cheap and efficient. Try asking to to talk to the paralegal in your case. They should relay your concerns to the attorney and maybe even get you to talk to the attorney directly.

    You have given no reason for short selling your home. You are living there for free now. Why not simply stay as long as you can and save money? If you sell, you have to move out. That is, unless you have a friendly purchaser on the short sale. Well.... do you have a friendly buyer?

    A friendly buyer is about the only reason I can think of for a short sale at this point. It's legal to find a friendly buyer. But many banks don't like it and will refuse to go along with the sale. There's no way to force the bank to accept a short sale, either. Why not simply stay as long as you can? Then have your friendly buyer approach the bank after you finally surrender it? Sounds like a plan to me. Good luck.

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    Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.


  2. In general, a client has the right to fire an attorney at any time for any reason. However, you really should have a lawyer helping you. Go to nacba.org and use the Attorney Finder to find an attorney near you. As to a "short sale", my opinion is that it is pointless; you get nothing out of it - instead, it usually costs you attorney fees to get it done. In my experience, there is no "surrender process"; you just state in your chapter 13 plan that you are surrendering the property, and once the plan is confirmed by the judge, it's up to the creditor to follow through; you shouldn't be responsible for any payments or expenses related to the property after surrendering. "Surrender" does NOT require that the creditor actually take possession of the property, but it does mean you are no longer responsible for it.


  3. You can change attorneys any time you want. However, it is difficult to find an attorney willing to step in because of costs.

    As far as your property goes, there is no good reason to do a short sale in Chapter 13. You have to do lots of work for no gain. When you stated that you wished to surrender the property, the debt on that property became dischargeable. There is a surrender procedure. You can petition the court to require the lender to take possession of the property consistent with the confirmed plan (it is confirmed, correct?).

    As a prior attorney said, you can stay for free (subject possibly to taxes, maintenance and HOA dues) until the lender conducts a foreclosure to take possession of the property. I have had clients in their houses for up to two years.

    [This communication is intended as general information and not specific legal advice, and this communication does not create an attorney-client relationship.]

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