Thursday, May 29, 2014
Ever thought of doing a bankruptcy yourself. That's right, without the aid of legal counsel. There are both pros and cons to doing such a thing. The pros are obvious, at least 1 is obvious anyway; it is cheaper. That's right, doing a bankruptcy yourself, is cheaper; no attorney fees.
So, what is the downside to doing it yourself. Although you may file a legally sufficient bankruptcy, that is, one the Bankruptcy Clerk will accept, may be the beginning of your problems. I am sticking my neck out when I say this, but there are probably as many things that could go wrong with your bankruptcy are there are people that file on their own. Without being familiar with the Bankruptcy Code, Bankruptcy Rules, case law, and local rules before setting out to do it yourself, it is true your case may go through just fine, but you could have your case dismissed, unnecessarily loose property to creditors, or even end up in litigation.
Am I trying to use a scare tactic? I don't think so. I couldn't help by think of Lucy when she would do things on her own, without knowing what she was really getting into.
Even people that hire attorneys that don't do bankruptcy on a regular basis run into surprises from time to time. I am one that believes the saying of an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That is to say, before deciding to proceed on your own, at least get a consultation from an attorney in your area that actively helps clients with their bankruptcies. Want to save money, well you can usually find in almost any market attorneys that give free consultations. Why some people file bankruptcy without ever getting a free consultation is beyond me. The bankruptcy practice is a highly specialized and complex area of the law.
A recent article in The Florida Bar News is about someone that decided to do a will on their own using forms. While it is true the forms are legally sufficient, without the advise of counsel, after the demise of the will's author, the will ended up in litigation, and ultimately cost much more than simply hiring an attorney to do the will correctly to begin with. Keep in mind that this involves an area of the law that is much simpler than bankruptcy. You can find the article, with a link to the Florida Supreme Court case, at http://tinyurl.com/mgl6av8.
Before filing bankruptcy, check with friends that have filed and find out if they were happy with their attorney. If so, see if you can get a free consultation. You can also check the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys website (www.nacba.org) for a member attorney in your area, and check the for members of local bankruptcy bar associations that may be in your area.