When your loans and credit card payments seem overwhelming, a debt settlement attorney may be able to help lower the amount you owe. Before deciding to work with an attorney, you may want to research what they can do for you.

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What Does a Debt Settlement Attorney Do?

A debt settlement attorney can negotiate with your lenders if you have a large amount of unsecured debt to lower the amount you owe. Unsecured debt is debt that didn’t require a collateral, such as credit cards, student loans, or medical bills.

How Do I Know If I Need a Debt Settlement Attorney?

Do you have a large amount of debt and not enough resources to pay it? It might be helpful to first get the advice of a non-profit consumer credit counseling service that can help you design a budget and provide financial advice. If you’ve still struggling to pay off debt, then you may want to consult a debt settlement attorney who can consolidate your debt, lower it, or put you on a payment plan. Your lawyer should know the best strategy to minimize your legal risk, as well as risks to other things like your credit score.

Debt settlement attorneys are similar to bankruptcy attorneys, but you may want the help of a debt settlement lawyer first since you want to avoid going into bankruptcy. A debt settlement attorney might be able to provide better options than an agency that advertises lowering debt-- these services often end up costing you more than you originally owed in the long run.

How Much Does a Debt Settlement Attorney Cost?

Many debt settlement lawyers charge based on contingency. Contingency means that you will not have to pay anything up front but your lawyer will take a percentage if you win your case. The rate may be based on how much you owe, or how much they save you. Pricing will vary depending on where you live and how much you owe. Establish a rate up front with your lawyer to minimize any surprises on your bill.

What Should I Expect from Working with a Debt Settlement Attorney?

A debt settlement attorney should be able to lower the amount of unsecured debt that you have to pay back. Creditors take a big risk on unsecured loans, so they would rather earn back part of the money that they loaned out than none of it, which is what happens if you file for bankruptcy. There is no guarantee that a debt settlement attorney will be able to lower your debt. However, hiring an attorney gives you a much better chance than if you handle your creditors on your own or with a debt settlement service.

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Get started Ask a Lawyer a Question You'll hear back in one day.