Do I Need A Lawyer to File Bankruptcy?
We get asked this question a lot. And the answer is while you can attempt to do it yourself, the outcome is not going to be as successful as when you have an attorney handling the matter for you. Attorneys know the law inside and out while most debtors do not. An attorney will help you make the right choice between which type of bankruptcy is right for you. They will also walk you through the process of filing for a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy or any of the other form of bankruptcy available. According to the American Bankruptcy Institute, 10,000 Americans filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy pro se, meaning on their own, between 2010 and 2016. Out of that number only 240 were successful in filing. That translates to a 2 percent success rate. Having an attorney on your side while filing for bankruptcy ensures that the filing process is done correctly. Your attorney knows the law and its exceptions. Bankruptcy attorneys have specialized experience. Below is a list of questions to consider before filing for bankruptcy:
- Is filing for bankruptcy the right thing to do?
- Financially do you need to file bankruptcy?
- Which Chapter (Chapter 7 or Chapter 13) is best for you?
- Do you know how to correctly fill in the bankruptcy schedules?
- How do you file and valuate your assets for the schedule of assets – meaning from bank accounts to security deposits and from gifted property to retirement accounts and more?
- How do you fill out and complete a schedule of debts and properly classify them into unsecured, priority and secured?
- What exemptions are allowed for the property you own?
- Which exemptions are the best to use for your situation?
- What is the process to complete a means test to find out if you are under the median income for Pennsylvania to qualify for a Chapter 7 or do you make too much money and are required to file a Chapter 13?
- How do you plan to provide schedules of all expenses and income?
- Do you know how to create a statement of financial affairs for the last few years?
- Are you in compliance with the pre-bankruptcy filing requirements?
- Are you in compliance with the post-bankruptcy debtor education course?