Filing for bankruptcy is generally used as a last resort for people who are struggling financially. When you are ready to file for bankruptcy, it is safe to say that money is tight, or that you have very little money – otherwise you would not be filing for bankruptcy. For most people facing bankruptcy, it is tempting to represent themselves because they cannot afford the attorney fees. While filing for bankruptcy on your own is possible, it is not wise and may not be in your best interest.
Pitfalls of Filing Bankruptcy Without an Attorney
Some common problems people who do not hire a bankruptcy attorney face include:
Bankruptcy may not be necessary in the first place. It is not uncommon for some people to file for bankruptcy because they don’t understand what the filing can and cannot do. An experienced attorney can provide invaluable advice about a bankruptcy and even provide with you alternatives.
Filing the wrong chapter. For most people facing bankruptcy, the logical choices are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. There are major differences between each type of bankruptcy filing. Two major differences are that not everyone qualifies for either or both and each filing treats property and debt differently.
Difficulty in preparing the petition, schedules, and other legal documents. Even if you end up choosing the correct chapter to file bankruptcy under, there are still pitfalls abound in the paperwork phase of the proceeding.
Failing to file required documents. Many self-represented bankruptcy debtors fail to file all of the required bankruptcy documents. This is very important because failing to file required documents can threaten the success of your bankruptcy filing.
Choosing incorrect property exemptions. Property exemptions are an integral part in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings. An experienced Stockton bankruptcy attorney can help you figure out the equity in your property, how to list a particular item of property, and whether you will risk the loss of valuable property (like your house, car or jewelry) in the process of a filing.
Perhaps one of the biggest pitfalls of filing bankruptcy without hiring an attorney is the possibility of a creditor challenging the dischargeability of a debt. In these situations, you may find yourself on the receiving end of a complaint or motion. Although you can always hire an attorney at any time during the bankruptcy hearing, it is best to avoid this situation altogether by hiring a bankruptcy attorney in the first place.
Call an Experienced Stockton Bankruptcy Attorney
Have you already filed for bankruptcy or are planning to file for bankruptcy? If so, it may be in your best interest to immediately consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to help you determine what is in your best interest.
For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with Stockton bankruptcy attorney Gurjit Srai, please call (209) 323-5558 or (559) 449-1447, or complete our online form.