Is Do It Yourself Bankruptcy Right For You?
If you are in a situation where you feel bankruptcy is your only option out of debt, you are not alone. Thousands of people every year find it necessary to file bankruptcy. Many attempt a do it yourself bankruptcy and succeed. Others do not and find their cases dismissed. Before you even consider filing bankruptcy, whether a do it yourself bankruptcy or with legal help, make sure to try all other options first.
If bankruptcy is your only remaining option, there are several ways to go about it. You can hire a lawyer who can help you prepare and file your petition, represent you in court and give you advice on legal issues of your case. Alternatively, you can seek the service of a petition preparer that will make sure all your bankruptcy forms are professionally completed and filed properly. However, a petition preparer will not be able to offer you legal guidance.
If you are a well-organized person, you may be better off on doing your own paper work and save some money. Do it yourself bankruptcy or filing “Pro Se” is the obvious choice for many who are planning to file bankruptcy, and given that, cannot afford to pay a lawyer.
Clearly, do it yourself bankruptcy costs less than paying lawyer’s fees, which can be as high as $1000 or even $2000. When you file bankruptcy on your own, the main costs you have to consider are the filing fees, which are $299 for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing and $185 for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing. There may be other costs to prepare for but, as you would expect, your total costs would be far less than when you hire a lawyer or a petition preparer.
Do it yourself bankruptcy is necessary for many. However, if you know you can squeeze out some money for lawyer’s fees, you may want to consider getting one because bankruptcy proceedings are not as simple as they may seem.
The downside to do it yourself bankruptcy is you have to take on all of the work and the work can be confusing and complex. Remember, bankruptcy is a legal process and it is a specialized form of law with specific rules and regulations. Do it yourself bankruptcy may work for you if you have few or no high-value assets and you have the initiative to educate yourself on bankruptcy laws, especially the new regulations.
If you are confident that you can accomplish a do it yourself bankruptcy, prepare to do a lot of research on how bankruptcy proceedings work, what Chapter of the Bankruptcy Code is appropriate in your circumstance, what are the eligibility requirements, how exactly do you fill out and file your forms, among other things.
The requirements indicated in the new bankruptcy laws are more rigid. There are specific actions and deadlines you have to meet. In addition, you would need to fill out an average of 30 pages of bankruptcy forms and they would have to error free. Without a bankruptcy case expert by your side, you would need to be extra careful with your filing because one mistake in your documents or one missed deadline may result in delays or dismissal of your case.
The key to do it yourself bankruptcy is diligence. Many resources out there can help you. You can start by doing online research to familiarize yourself with the bankruptcy law. Do it yourself bankruptcy kits and do it yourself bankruptcy software are available to help you with all the paper work. Just be sure to purchase from a reputable company.
If you need legal advice, consult a bankruptcy lawyer. Usually, initial consultations are free.