Should you handle bankruptcy without consulting an attorney?

Usually, businesses need to have an attorney to file bankruptcy. Individuals, however can file bankruptcy on their own. This is more popularly known as pro se bankruptcy. Although individuals can navigate the legal process on their own, yet it is quite hard to complete the procedure successfully.

Why do people chose to file bankruptcy on their own?

Many people file bankruptcy on their own due to the following 5 reasons:

  • 1 They feel that attorneys will charge a lot of money
  • 2 They think that the bankruptcy process can be completed easily
  • 3 They feel that bankruptcy means only submitting a few forms
  • 4 They're not able to find a good attorney in their locality
  • 5 They're confident of handling legal issues on their own

What are the 2 benefits of pro se bankruptcy?

You can opt for pro se bankruptcy in any state of the country. If you don't have lots of assets or properties and your credit file is not in a terrible shape, then it may not be too difficult to fill out the papers properly. All you need do is follow the bankruptcy laws correctly. The court clerk will notify you if papers have not been filled out accurately.

Benefits of pro se or DIY bankruptcy

Here are the 2 benefits of do it yourself or DIY bankruptcy:

  • You won't have to be depended upon an attorney
  • You can save the fees charged by attorneys

You can check out the bankruptcy laws and forms online. You may complete the paperwork yourself and save the attorney fees.

What are the consequences of filing bankruptcy without an attorney?

Here's what can happen if you file bankruptcy without an attorney:

  • You may not know about the type of bankruptcy you'll qualify for
  • You may not be able to complete the bankruptcy paperwork alone
  • You may make some serious mistakes such as leaving a creditor
  • You may not be able to face the creditors meeting all alone
  • You may not be able to explain your debt situation properly
  • You may forget to list a property

What else can happen if you don't get help from an attorney?

Bankruptcy is very technical. The rules are complex and as such you may not be able to understand them properly. One single error can destroy all your efforts to discharge debts through bankruptcy.

An example

The court can dismiss your bankruptcy case simply because you don't have a credit counseling certificate. If your luck is very bad, you may not be able to file another case or you may stop getting protections from automatic stay. Bankruptcy is not an easy debt relief process. As such, it is advisable to get proper guidance from an attorney.

Debtors are required to list their assets and liabilities properly. If they fail to list debts accurately (intentionally or unintentionally), then the court will not help them to get a discharge.

Pro se bankruptcy cases are scrutinized minutely to determine if the debtors have filed petition honestly. Any act of bankruptcy fraud is regarded as a crime. So, individuals filing bankruptcy on their own should be extra careful.

Where you can get vital information about bankruptcy?

You may get relevant information about bankruptcy from the following places:

Final word

Consult a competent attorney when you're planning to file bankruptcy. If you don't have any money to pay the attorney fees, then try to get free legal services or pro bono legal services. There are many attorneys and law firms that offer services without charging fees. You've to find out those attorneys from your state or local bar association. You may even check out the court websites to get the contact details of such attorneys.