Because of the financial strain that people who are facing bankruptcy are already under, many consider filing and working through the process of bankruptcy without a lawyer. This is legal, but as with many circumstances in a court of law, just because you can doesn’t mean that you should.
Filing Bankruptcy Without a Lawyer
The drawbacks of facing bankruptcy without a lawyer typically far outweigh any perceived savings that might be had by not hiring one.
Before You File
The issues that come with facing bankruptcy without a lawyer may start before you even file. Some people who believe bankruptcy is their only option are actually incorrect; speaking with a lawyer may help you to determine what other options you have. Likewise, if you file on your own you may choose the wrong chapter of bankruptcy for your unique situation. This results in wasted time at best – lost property or unresolved debts at worst.
Preparing Your Paperwork
Paperwork for legal processes like bankruptcy is lengthy and can be very confusing. You will receive a packet of federal forms to fill out, as well as some local forms depending on your state and county’s regulations for bankruptcy. Filling these papers out incorrectly can result in dismissal of your case or prolong the process of bankruptcy as you are called in for corrections and additional paperwork.
During bankruptcy, debtors must take a credit counseling course and financial training to avoid future problems. This is a key part of the bankruptcy process – and one that people who attempt to navigate bankruptcy without a lawyer often don’t know about or try to skip. Your lawyer can help you understand these requirements and learn more about where to take classes and how to document them properly.
Guarding Your Property
Loss of property is one of the scariest parts of bankruptcy for many people. Preventing this is usually achieved by filing for exemptions for certain belongings or assets – something your lawyer will be able to help you do quickly and effectively. Those who try to work through bankruptcy without a lawyer will often find that any money they felt they were saving by not hiring a professional is lost in the property and assets seized during their proceedings.
When Problems Arise
One of the biggest reasons to consider hiring an attorney for your bankruptcy case is that not every case works the same way. Sure, most cases follow a familiar formula: you file, you attend meetings and hearings and you eventually get your discharge. However, there is always a possibility for something out of the ordinary to happen and if it does, it pays to be prepared with professional help.
Whether you’re faced with a motion to deny discharge or simply need help understanding the importance of adversary actions in the bankruptcy process, there is much more to lose by filing bankruptcy without a lawyer than there is to gain.
My341 can help you find the legal assistance you need to take on bankruptcy – and win. Find more information about bankruptcy in your area and how our attorney directory can match you with the legal professional you need to overcome it.