If you’ve found yourself sinking in debt, bankruptcy can start to look like an attractive option. Yes, you will lose credit and assets, but you will also be able to pare down your debt and get relief from harassing creditor calls. Some people try to file bankruptcy without the help of a lawyer, but there are some very good reasons why you shouldn’t attempt that.
Bankruptcy Law is Complex
First off, there are several different types of bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 for individuals, Chapter 11 for businesses, and Chapter 12 for farm owners. Knowing which type of bankruptcy to file for is imperative. Too many individuals who try to go it alone end up filing for the wrong chapter, which results in the loss of valuable assets or in some key debts not being discharged.
A bankruptcy attorney can advise you on the type of chapter that fits your situation the best. He will also be able to inform you of potential tax consequences and asset losses you will face. For example, will your house and car be taken in the bankruptcy or will you be able to keep them? A bankruptcy attorney might be able to help you exempt certain assets, such as your house, from being taken.
No one besides a lawyer is allowed to give you legal advice. If you’re trying to do it on your own, you’ll have a difficult time getting answers.
Bankruptcy Forms are Complex
Have you ever tried to fill out a legal form? It’s complicated. In a bankruptcy, it’s easy to miss required forms that affect your case. There may be up to 20 forms that you need to file. Chapter 11 bankruptcies for businesses are especially complicated.
A bankruptcy attorney can show you how to fill out forms or even fill them out for you. In the legal world, if a form is filled out incorrectly or is missing information, it can hurt your case. It can cause your case to get dropped or subject you to fraud charges, in the event that the bankruptcy trustee finds out that you left out information. Everything you state on a bankruptcy form is filed under the penalty of perjury. It’s serious business.
Bankruptcy Procedures are Complex
When you’re navigating bankruptcy court by yourself, you’re responsible to read up on the proper procedures. Which form do you file first? Where do you submit your forms? How soon do you need to file them? Have you met all the eligibility requirements? Yes, you’ll need to qualify to file bankruptcy.
Self-filed bankruptcy cases frequently get dismissed due to administrative errors—failing to file the right forms in the right time frames, failing to provide documents, failing to show up at the meeting of creditors, failing to make payments on a Chapter 13 plan, and more. A bankruptcy attorney will keep you on your toes.
Bankruptcy is a last-ditch option to resolving an insurmountable financial crisis. While it’s not an easy process by any means, it will be much easier with a lawyer at your side.