Unfortunately, bankruptcy filings are staggeringly common in the United States. In fact, 817,000 consumer bankruptcy cases were closed during 2017 alone, with the majority of those closed being categorized as Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings.
The data shows that you certainly would not be alone in your choice to file for bankruptcy. And yet, too many people choose to file on their own — without help from bankruptcy lawyers.
This is allowed, of course, and those who do so actually make up a substantial portion of bankruptcy filings. When you file without help from bankruptcy attorneys, this is referred to as pro se.
It’s easy to understand why some people file without legal counsel; when you’re facing economic hardship, you may feel you don’t have the financial resources to pay for a bankruptcy lawyer. You may also feel that your case is relatively simple and doesn’t warrant help from an attorney. However, choosing to file without help from a bankruptcy lawyer can actually cost you both time and money in the end. In today’s post, we’ll discuss the pitfalls of filing for bankruptcy without legal help and why guidance from a legal representative is so crucial in these cases.
The Dangers of DIY Bankruptcy
Completing a DIY project can bring a sense of accomplishment, but the cardinal rule of “do-it-yourself” tasks is this: never bite off more than you can chew.
When it comes to anything involving the law, it’s best not to take on this burden yourself. Without a lawyer, you’ll take a number of risks with your bankruptcy filing. You could easily choose the wrong type of bankruptcy to file, as this area of law is incredibly complex. You could also fail to fill out bankruptcy paperwork correctly, misplace essential documents, or neglect to meet requirements (like education courses) as part of your claim.
At a more basic level, you might not understand the importance of creditor challenges. In some cases, you might be filing for bankruptcy when there are other options available to you. Ultimately, you’re taking a huge risk with your financial future by not consulting with a legal team.
How a Bankruptcy Lawyer Can Help
Simply put, your bankruptcy lawyer can walk you through every step of the filing process. They’ll explain your options to you in detail and can advise you on the best type of bankruptcy for your given situation. Since bankruptcy is really a last resort, your lawyer may even suggest other options that might be accessible to you before taking this step. But if they do recommend that you file, your lawyer will help to ensure your paperwork is filled out completely and correctly, that you meet all requirements, and that any issues that come up will be dealt with quickly.
In other words, your lawyer can ensure your filing goes smoothly and will protect your rights in the interest of the best possible outcome. An experienced lawyer will be one of your most valuable assets during this critical period — and they’re one that will be with you throughout the process.
It’s important to remember that you don’t have to go through this alone (nor should you). If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy or want to learn more about your options, schedule a consultation with me personally to go over all your options. You have nothing to lose and the cost of hiring an attorney may not be as high as you think.