Can you file bankruptcy on your own? Technically, yes. But not so fast – that might not be the best idea you’ve ever had and here’s why.
When filing for bankruptcy, you do have the right to do so without an attorney. However, while you might just be trying to save a few dollars, it could end up costing you a bundle.
Bankruptcy is a complex subject. It’s not just filling out forms. Usually, your creditors will have a lawyer representing them and fighting for their interests. Wouldn’t you want to be on equal footing as your creditors?
The biggest benefit to hiring a bankruptcy attorney is that they are able to quickly recognize any potential hiccups that could arise and derail your case. Because of this, they will also be able to plan accordingly for these potential hiccups.
Additionally, a bankruptcy attorney can assist you with other things such as:
- Before filing bankruptcy, there is a planning process that should be done and your attorney can assist you with this during or shortly after your initial consultation:
- Considering alternatives to bankruptcy. Bankruptcy might not be your only option. If after reviewing your circumstance it doesn’t appear to be the best option for you, your attorney will suggest bankruptcy alternatives.
Decide which type of bankruptcy to file. If you both decide that bankruptcy is the best option for you, the next thing to do is to determine which type of bankruptcy you will file. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 serve different purposes and accomplish different goals.
Bankruptcy preparation includes:
- Applying the means test. The means test is a calculation that indicates whether you qualify for Chapter 7 or whether you can afford the payments to pursue Chapter 13 instead.
- Valuing your property. Do you know the value of your property and all of the assets it holds? Your attorney will make sure you disclose and value your assets realistically.
- Choosing and applying exemptions. Every state has a separate exemption system and your attorney will understand how to use the exemption rule to protect as much of your assets as they can.
- Determining the discharge of debts. Not all debts get wiped out during bankruptcy. And others will only go away if certain conditions are met. Your attorney will be able to explain all of this to you.
What Should You Expect from a Bankruptcy Attorney?
Bankruptcy, like most legal matters, is a process and it is best to have a bankruptcy attorney guide you through the process to make it as easy and seamless as possible.
For a general bankruptcy case, you can expect to have these basics as part of your experience:
- An initial consultation to get an overview of your case.
- Advice on the options available and what type of bankruptcy would be best for you to file.
- The necessary paperwork for filing completed for you.
- Representation when your case goes to court.
Let Us Be Your Bankruptcy Expert
Filing bankruptcy involves a lot of paperwork and valuable assets – it is important that everything gets done the right way. By forgoing an attorney, you could not only cost yourself money but you could miss out on opportunities and information that could be very useful to you.
Our team is here to help you ensure that this process goes smoothly, allowing you to take full advantage of your fresh start.
Contact our team today to find out how we can help you through this process.