Why should you hire an attorney to do your bankrutpcy?

There are a variety of ways to get your bankruptcy filed that don’t involve hiring an attorney. You could do it yourself — all the forms necessary can be downloaded from the bankruptcy court’s web site. Or you can hire a bankruptcy petition preparer who can help you fill out the forms but can not give legal advice. Why should you pay the extra to have an attorney do your bankruptcy?

The main reason is you have someone to help you fix things if things go wrong. The court can not give you legal advice and petition preparers can only help you do the forms. An attorney can help you to identify problems ahead of time and advise you on how to fix them before filing, or maybe tell you not to file at all. A chapter 7 bankruptcy is like jumping out of an airplane: once you jump, you can’t get back into the airplane. When you pull that ripcord for the first time, who do you want packing your parachute?

Secondly, the attorney will be with you at the 341 meeting and other hearings. At your 341 meeting, which every bankruptcy case has, when you sit down with the trustee, who is going to be sitting next to you? Only attorneys can represent someone else in a legal proceeding. 341 meetings can be adversarial, don’t you want someone who has done hundreds of 341 meetings with you at your meeting?

Lastly, if something does go wrong and it can’t be fixed, and it was the fault of the attorney, we have malpractice insurance to make you whole. You can’t sue yourself or a petition preparer for legal malpractice, as neither are authorized to practice law.

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