I filled chapter 7 almost 3 years ago and my attorney did not file a motion to avoid lien on debetors exempt property.

Asked almost 2 years ago - Portland, OR

I am now trying to refinance and they are saying that my home has a judgement lien on it and they want me to pay, but thats why i filled in the first place. was it my attorneys responsibility to file that paper and should i have to pay him to do so over the amount of the filing fee?

Attorney answers (7)

  1. Tom Arany

    Contributor Level 15

    8

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If you still have a copy available, read over your fee agreement. Motions to avoid liens are often not covered by standard chapter 7 bankruptcy fee agreements and require paying your attorney additional fees. That said, this is an issue that your attorney should have identified, discussed with you, and taken action to handle. The first step in figuring out what happened is to contact your attorney.

    My answer is for only informational purposes and is not legal advice. I am licensed to practice law in Oregon and... more
  2. Howard M Lewis

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . All counsel offer great advice. It is highly dependent on what your agreement with your attorney included. Good luck!

    Legal disclaimer: The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to... more
  3. Thomas A McAvity

    Pro

    Contributor Level 14

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    Answered . Because motions to avoid lien are rarely included in the flat fee for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, it would likely be completely appropriate for an attorney to bill you for doing the motion.

    Please consult an attorney who is licensed in your state to evaluate your case if you have any questions at all.... more
  4. Helene Thaissa W. Bergman

    Pro

    Contributor Level 11

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    Answered . Depends on what your written agreement with the lawyer said.

  5. Alexzander C. J. Adams

    Pro

    Contributor Level 6

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    Answered . You should look and see what your original fee agreement said. In my fee agreements, judicial lien avoidances are separate from a standard Chapter 7 filing. You will likely have to pay the $260.00 filing fee to reopen the case as well as some additional fees for drafting and serving the avoidance motions.

  6. Matthew Abts

    Contributor Level 7

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Hang on, now, your attorney still had the responsibility to talk to you about this issue regardless of what your fee agreement says. Sure, you may have had to pay more to get it done, but that doesn't mean the attorneys gets a pass on not informing you.

    If your attorney never mentioned it, the attorney may have missed it. If the attorney missed it, didn't inform you, and now you're losing your house as a result, the attorney may have malpracticed, regardless of the fee agreement.

    It's more likely there may have been more equity in the house than you realize and the attorney didn't mention it because it wasn't applicable in your case. Or maybe the attorney mentioned it in a letter and you're blanking on it -- you may want to go over all your prior communications.

    You'd have to bring the whole thing in to a lawyer to have it analyzed. I'd call a plaintiff's attorney who specializes in malpractice and see what s/he thinks. Many will evaluate a case for free, or for a small fee. Call the Oregon State Bar for a referral to this kind of malpractice attorney.

    Take care,
    -Matthew

    You are not my client and this answer is not meant as legal advice -- it is for general knowledge only. If you... more
  7. Orfelia Maria Mayor

    Contributor Level 8

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Most Chapter 7 fee agreements are for the basic bankruptcy proceeding. A Motion to Avoid a LIen is a separate "a la carte" type of service that is in addition to the original bankruptcy fees. I agree with the other attorneys that you need to check your retainer agreement but I'm pretty sure it doesn't cover this.

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