It’s possible to file for bankruptcy on your own without the assistance of an attorney. Some people choose this path because they assume it will save them money. The truth is, though, filing without an attorney can cost them big in the long run.
If you’re filing for bankruptcy, should you consider going it alone?
First, it’s important to understand that filing for bankruptcy is about more than just filling out a few forms and submitting them to the bankruptcy court. You will be filling out forms – a lot of them – and if you make any mistakes it can get your bankruptcy request denied. At the very least, mistakes or inconsistencies will result in a lot of stress as your bankruptcy moves forward.
Bankruptcy also requires you to protect your assets, if you have any, from the trustee and your creditors. Any slip ups and you stand to lose your home, your vehicle, your savings, and anything else of value in your life.
Suddenly, whatever fee you pay for an attorney seems small compared to losing your life savings or your home.
How Does Your Attorney Help You File for Bankruptcy?
No bankruptcy case is simple. Some are less complicated than others, but there is no such thing as a standard or predictable bankruptcy – or at least you shouldn’t assume there is.
Many of the mistakes that occur in bankruptcy begin long before you even file your paperwork. An attorney can help you prepare for filing and ensure all of your “ducks are in a row,” so problems are avoided down the line.
Your bankruptcy attorney will also offer support, which can be especially beneficial during the most trying parts of your bankruptcy. If something unexpected comes up, he or she can answer your questions and work with the court to remedy the problem.
Your attorney will also be at your side during your 341 Meeting of Creditors – one of the most stressful and intimidating parts of filing for bankruptcy.
What Can Go Wrong?
Even the most straightforward bankruptcy cases can hit snags. A few of the things that can go wrong during bankruptcy include:
- Denial of your request or some discharges because there are mistakes on the petition
- Dismissal of your bankruptcy because you were not qualified for the chapter for which you applied
- Loss of assets
- Legal action against you because you repaid debts shortly before filing
In addition to the problem listed above, you can view a more complete list of bankruptcy snags here.
“I’ll Be Fine – And I’ll Save Money”
Before you decide to go it alone, consider the ramifications. You might think your case is cut-and-dry, but things can get messy fast if you make just one small mistake. And worst of all, your mistakes can cost you a great deal of money.
Choosing to hire an experienced professional to help you file for bankruptcy can save you money and headaches. It’s the only way to be sure filing will open the door to a brighter financial future.
For more information or to discuss your case with someone who understands bankruptcy, contact the law office of Frank J. LaPerch, PC at 845.942.5500.