Individuals can file bankruptcy without an attorney which is called filing pro se. However, seeking the advice of a qualified attorney is strongly suggested because bankruptcy has long-term financial and legal outcomes.
Learning what is necessary to file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy without an attorney is extremely time-consuming and challenging. Therefore, before determining whether bankruptcy is right for you and if so what time of bankruptcy, you should seek the expert advice of a skilled bankruptcy attorney.
In this blog, we will point out some of the most common problems when a person files pro se.
Considerations Before Filing Bankruptcy
- Not needing to file. Some people who file for bankruptcy pro se do not understand what bankruptcy can do and what their alternatives are. For example, they might be filing to wipe out debts that are not dischargeable such as recent taxes, debts for drunk driving and most student loan debts. They file only to learn that they still owe the debts.
- Filing the wrong type of bankruptcy. For most consumers the choice is between filing a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. They each have different benefits and solve particular problems. For example, if you want to save your home from foreclosure, Chapter 13 is likely the correct bankruptcy to file. It might also be the right Chapter if you have too much equity in a home to file Chapter 7 and therefore would put your home at risk. If you file the wrong Chapter you might lose valuable property, or end up not discharging (eliminating) certain debts.
Filling Out the Bankruptcy Forms
The paperwork necessary to file bankruptcy is extensive and complicated.
- Failing to file required documents. In order to file bankruptcy, you need to complete the bankruptcy schedules which includes listing all of your assets, income and exemptions. Oftentimes, pro se bankruptcy filers do not file all of the required bankruptcy documents which can result in having the case dismissed.
- Failing to Protect Assets. In order to protect your property and assets in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy you need to understand bankruptcy exemptions. Many prose filers do not list the proper exemptions and therefore risk losing their property. An experienced bankruptcy attorneys, such as Levitt and Slafkes, fully understand what is necessary to protect your property.
- The Means Test is Complicated. In order to be eligible to file Chapter 7 you must pass the means test. The means test requires complex calculations and many questions generally arise during its completion. It may be extremely difficult to correctly complete the means test without an experienced bankruptcy attorney. You might find yourself ineligible to file Chapter 7 because you incorrectly completed the means test.
Don’t Go It Alone
Because Levitt & Slafkes, P.C. has already helped thousands of clients through the bankruptcy process, we understand exactly what you are going through, and we are here to answer all your questions. Call us at (973) 323-2953, or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
We are proudly designated as a debt relief agency by an Act of Congress. We have proudly assisted consumers in filing for Bankruptcy Relief for over 30 years. The information on this website and blogs is for general information purposes only. Nothing should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation.