The bills are piling up, and creditors are knocking at your door, so you’ve decided to file for bankruptcy. Because you’re already in a financially difficult situation, you don’t want to take on more debt, and you’ve heard that attorneys are expensive. As a result, you’ve decided to file your bankruptcy petition on your own, which is referred to as proceeding “pro se.” You’ve started filling out the forms and assembling the documents, and the process seems pretty straightforward. While it’s true that you don’t have to have an attorney handle your bankruptcy case, very few pro se bankruptcies are successfully completed. In this post, we’d like to discuss how an experienced bankruptcy attorney can be a tremendous help.
The Devil is in the Details
At first glance, the paperwork may seem self-explanatory. However, even a small mistake can have significant consequences. There are a series of forms that will need to be completed and a lot of documents to be submitted. Failing to properly complete the forms or include one of the necessary documents could result in your bankruptcy being dismissed. And if your bankruptcy is dismissed, your ability to refile may be severely restricted depending on the circumstances surrounding your case. Due to handling numerous cases, an experienced bankruptcy attorney will know exactly what needs to be filed in order to get your case up and running as quickly as possible.
In addition, statements you make in your bankruptcy petition may prompt creditors to file objections. Creditors may object that you’ve valued their claim incorrectly, you’re giving preferential treatments to some other creditor, or that your filing is otherwise deficient. These objections are where bankruptcy cases can get very complicated. An experienced bankruptcy attorney will ensure that your filings are accurate and minimize any basis for future objections.
Creditors Expect You to Fail
When they see that you’ve filed pro se, creditors expect that the case will be dismissed fairly quickly. They will be prepared to resume their efforts to collect their debt the minute your case is dismissed. As a result, you may soon find yourself in the same position you were trying to avoid. In addition, creditors will also exploit your inexperience to force an outcome that favors their position.
Bankruptcy Attorneys Know the Courts and the Judges
Each bankruptcy court may have its own set of local rules that govern how you file your case, in addition to the federal bankruptcy laws. This isn’t always obvious and can be particularly problematic if you’re using some generic resources you found online. A bankruptcy attorney in your jurisdiction knows the local rules and the federal bankruptcy laws, ensuring that the filing goes as smoothly as possible.
An experienced bankruptcy attorney also knows the court and the bankruptcy judges in your jurisdiction. As a result, he knows their personal preferences, what they will find acceptable, and where there may be issues.
Bankruptcy Attorneys Know the Trustees
The bankruptcy trustee is someone appointed by the court to oversee the administration of the bankruptcy “estate” (i.e., all or your assets and debts). He is charged with representing the interests of the debtor and all of your creditors. And because the trustee is often the one recommending how the court should proceed in the case, knowing the trustee can be invaluable. Being able to communicate with the trustee can be incredibly helpful when dealing with objections or other motions from creditors.
Bankruptcy Attorneys Give You Time
Filing for bankruptcy is no small task and time is typically of the essence. Once you provide her with all of your paperwork, your bankruptcy attorney can assemble and organize your information, complete the forms, and get the documents filed with minimal delays. As a result, you don’t need to take time off of work or take time away from your family to file your petition. The sooner your bankruptcy petition is filed, the sooner you can start moving toward a better future.
It’s also important to note that once you file without an attorney, you become the point of contact for everything related to your bankruptcy. You will need to deal with the court, the trustee, and the attorneys for all of your creditors. To further complicate matters, these people will likely to be able to talk only during business hours, which can be particularly problematic if you work at a job that doesn’t allow you time to deal with personal phone calls.
Contact a Minnesota Area Bankruptcy Attorney
Having founded the firm in 1972, the attorneys at Kain & Scott have decades of experience in helping people across Minnesota get through the bankruptcy process. We don’t charge you any fees up-front, and we offer very affordable monthly payments for high-quality representation. If you would like a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call us today at 800-551-3292 or send us an email.