Bankruptcy is full of pitfalls and is very technical regarding how debt is treated, who gets paid, and who does not. Many questions also arise during the process:
- What chapter of bankruptcy do I qualify for?
- Can I file Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
- Must I file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy?
- Do I have too much debt for Chapter 13?
- Can I file a Chapter 11 bankruptcy even though I am not a business?
These complicated questions have complicated answers. A bankruptcy attorney can help you determine the best course of action. Below, we discuss whether a lawyer is required to file for bankruptcy and the benefits of using one.
Do I need a lawyer to file for bankruptcy?
The short answer is no. Like many things in the law, a lawyer is not necessary but can be beneficial. You always have the right to represent yourself in court. However, as the adage goes, “A person who represents himself in court may have a fool for a client!”
The benefits of using a lawyer when filing for bankruptcy
There are many reasons it is wise to consult a bankruptcy attorney when filing for bankruptcy. Here are the main benefits of using a lawyer during the bankruptcy process.
Help with chapter filing
Should you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy? While Chapter 7 bankruptcy clears unsecured debt (such as credit card debt or student loans), it is often difficult to grant. Chapter 13, on the other hand, allows you to pay back your debts over time but does not reduce the amount you owe. An attorney can review your financial situation and help you determine the best chapter to file.
Understand paperwork and document requirements
Many forms, documents, and other paperwork must be filled out when filing for bankruptcy. If attempting to file for bankruptcy on your own, you are solely in charge of ensuring all the proper paperwork is filed correctly and deadlines are met. Bankruptcy attorneys have intimate knowledge of the legal process of filing for bankruptcy and will ensure all the appropriate paperwork is in order and every deadline is met.
Communicate with creditors
One of the most stress-relieving duties of working with a bankruptcy attorney is that they will handle communicating with your creditors for you. No more dreading answering your phone! Bankruptcy attorneys will notify your creditors of your bankruptcy filing and communicate with them about making a claim. If a creditor does call you, you give them your lawyer’s contact information, and they should not call you again.
It is understandable that if you file for bankruptcy, you face some financial challenges and may consider not hiring an attorney to cut costs. However, attorneys may be able to save you money in the long run by negotiating with your creditors and with a judge for a lower repayment plan or reduction of debt. They also know which assets are exempt from bankruptcy to portray your financial situation accurately.
Bankruptcy attorneys have gone through the bankruptcy process many times before. They understand the nuances of filing and will ensure you avoid costly mistakes that may delay or dismiss your case. When attempting to file on your own, you are likely to forget a document or file something incorrectly, which can cost you time and money in the future.
Cressman Law Firm, P.A.—Winter Garden bankruptcy attorney
Navigating bankruptcy is complicated, especially if you attempt to file independently. Have an experienced bankruptcy attorney like Mark Cressman, P.A., help you navigate the process. Cressman Law helps residents of Winter Garden, Florida, and all of Orange county file for bankruptcy. Your initial consultation is free! Contact us by calling 407-593-4013.