Deeply In Debt? 4 Reasons You Should Hire An Attorney Before Filing For Bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy may seem like a pretty easy task. You fill out a few forms, submit them to the courts, and then your debts are forgiven. Unfortunately, it's not quite that simple. The bankruptcy laws have changed so much that filing without an attorney can end up costing you dearly. Here are just a few of the reasons why filing for bankruptcy without an attorney may be a big mistake.

No One to Speak On Your Behalf

In the bankruptcy court, which operates at a federal level, have a responsibility to protect the creditor. In fact, the trustees, the bankruptcy panel, and the judge will work to ensure that the creditor receives a fair settlement through the discharge of your debt. If you have questions about the proceedings, they will not provide you with the answers you need.

Home May Not Be Protected

If you own a home, you owe it to yourself to hire an attorney. Just because you're filing for bankruptcy, you don't necessarily have to lose your home. In fact, the homestead exemption may allow you to keep your home. However, if you attempt to file for bankruptcy without an attorney, you might not understand the laws that apply to you or the rights that you have regarding your property.

You Can't Dismiss Your Case If You Make a Mistake

Unlike some legal proceedings, you can't have your bankruptcy case dismissed once it's been filed. So if you file for a chapter 7 bankruptcy without legal representation, and you realize you've made a mistake on the paperwork, you're going to be stuck with the outcome. Sadly, this may mean that you lose out on assets that you might have been allowed to keep if you'd had a lawyer. It also means that you might be responsible for larger bankruptcy payments.

Confusion Over Bankruptcy Chapters

According to bankruptcy laws, there are four different types of bankruptcies that might apply to consumers. Those are:

  • Chapter 7 – individuals with minimal assets and income

  • Chapter 13 – individuals with assets and verifiable income

  • Chapter 12 – family farmers and fishermen

  • Chapter 11 – corporations and individuals with large mortgages

Filing the wrong paperwork, or applying for the wrong type of bankruptcy, protection can leave result in additional charges or debts that cannot be discharged. In addition, the creditors will continue to hound you until your case is filed properly.

If you're in debt and need bankruptcy protection, be sure to speak to an attorney. With proper legal representation, you can get the fresh start you need to get your finances back on the right track. For more help, contact a company like Morrison & Murff.