Usually, by the time clients contact me regarding a chapter 7 bankruptcy, they’ve already considered a number of other options, including filing for bankruptcy protection without legal representation. In fact, the National Bureau of Economic Research estimates more than 200,000 Americans will try to file a bankruptcy case without a lawyer. That’s troubling for me for a number of reasons. Primarily, many of these cases are dismissed because the paperwork is filed incorrectly. Second, mistakes can be made that can jeopardize a consumer’s ability to eliminate their debt. I also know that I can offer them a solution that allows them to afford bankruptcy without having to come up with the attorney’s fees all at once. This week, I explore why a bankruptcy lawyer is a consumer’s best advocate.
Individuals, unlike businesses, are not required to be represented by an attorney when they file a bankruptcy case. However, you should have an attorney, who is well versed in bankruptcy law, represent you when you file a bankruptcy case. Bankruptcy is a very powerful and complicated federal law. The papers that you file are signed by you under the penalty of perjury. Therefore, it is vitally important that they be prepared correctly and accurately.
Not only that but many times clients would be better served with one type of bankruptcy over another. If they are not sure of what type of bankruptcy they should file, they might not be making the best choice for their financial needs. It’s a bell that can’t be unrung if you don’t get it right the first time. The smallest overlooked detail can present big problems moving forward.
The majority of bankruptcies filed without the benefit of an attorney have many errors. These “pro se” filers are required to re-file their bankruptcy documents when they are filed wrong. Many times attorneys won’t help them because they have filed the case incorrectly and so much has to be done to prepare the documents correctly. Since they are not aware of the details of bankruptcy law, they re-file their documents with the same or similar errors. They lose valuable time which can change the dynamics of their mortgages and even automobile payments. I can help prevent that.
There are huge differences between chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcies. In fact, the wrong decision can cost you your home and other assets that didn’t need to be jeopardized. As you can see, it’s about far more than eliminating your debt. Bankruptcy has always been intended for those wishing to restart their finances, not lose everything they’ve worked for with no options for rebuilding. An experienced bankruptcy lawyer can prevent those types of mistakes.
The biggest reason people file without the benefit of a lawyer is their concerns about the costs. I offer a convenient payment plan that allows you to pay our fees over time while I respond to your creditor calls and letters. I meet with each client individually and tailor a payment plan that is affordable and convenient. While you are on our payment plan, I or my office staff respond to your creditor calls and letters and tell the bill collectors that under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, all future communication regarding your debt to that creditor must come through our office.
The benefits of hiring an experienced bankruptcy attorney in Texas versus attempting to represent yourself in federal court are obvious. When you’re ready, I stand ready to help guide you back to financial independence. Contact me today for a free one-hour initial consultation.