No, you don’t need a lawyer to file bankruptcy. Anyone can represent themselves. The real question is the cost versus benefit ratio. The major reason to not hire an attorney is to save the fee. But that’s a lot like saving the cost of a map when you are somewhere you’ve never been before. You would be very lucky not to get lost!
There are six kinds of bankruptcies. Few lawyers understand them all, much less lay persons. The two most common types for consumers are chapter 7 and chapter 13. Just choosing which one is right for you requires knowledge of financial and bankruptcy laws and a thorough understanding of the differences between the two.
Then to file, you need to list all of your debts and all of your property, and claim some (or all) of the property as exempt. But the type of exemptions you can use and the amount of each exemption can be complicated and vary from state to state. Worse, if you don’t do it right, you could lose more property than necessary in the process.
If you file the wrong type of bankruptcy or use improper exemptions or the trustee tries to take some of your property to benefit the bankruptcy estate, you might regret saving the attorney’s fees.
Most of the things you could do wrong can be corrected by competent bankruptcy counsel after the fact. But that’s scary, more expensive and time consuming. Better to get it right the first time – and to do that, hire a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney!
Latest posts by Douglas Jacobs, Esq. (see all)
- Bankruptcy And The Elderly - April 11, 2014
- Four Steps to a Successful Chapter 7 bankruptcy - March 11, 2014
- Thinking About Filing Bankruptcy? Now Might be the Right Time. - February 11, 2014
- The Debt and the Lien: Two Completely Different Problems - January 11, 2014
- Bankruptcy: Don’t Get Home-Towned - December 11, 2013
Last modified: September 30, 2013