If you’re considering filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, do you really need to pay a bankruptcy lawyer to help you? Or should you opt to file pro se (on your own)? That depends. Are you ready to read and retain the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure? What about the 44-page Official Summary Instructions for filing pro se?
Filing for bankruptcy is an involved process with many steps. It requires plenty of time, background knowledge on bankruptcy rules and procedures, and knowledge of how to handle court proceedings. And if you don’t possess this body knowledge, chances are your filing process will be unsuccessful.
According to a study performed by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in California, a mere 0.4% of per se filers were able to get their Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan confirmed. The same study revealed that approximately 40% of per se Chapter 7 cases were dismissed compared to a mere 5.4% of attorney-led cases.
So what exactly does a bankruptcy attorney do that you can’t do on your own, and why is working with an attorney so important? Ron Lundquist, Attorney at Law, explains below.
A Bankruptcy Attorney Protects Your Property
Every state has its own bankruptcy exemptions and a bankruptcy attorney understands them thoroughly. You, on the other hand, may not. These exemptions are extremely important as they are what allow you to keep your property after you file for bankruptcy.
Unless you thoroughly understand your state’s exemption system, chances are you’ll lose property if you file by yourself. Working with a bankruptcy attorney helps ensure you lose as little property as possible. In many cases, an attorney can ensure you don’t lose any property at all.
An Attorney Knows How to Determine Which Type of Bankruptcy You Should File
When it comes to filing for personal bankruptcy, there are two types you can file for: Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. But if you don’t really understand which type of bankruptcy is appropriate in your case, you may end up filing for the wrong one, which can cost you.
An attorney, on the other hand, will help you through a means test, which determines whether you may qualify for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Then, based on your financial data, the attorney can help you determine which type of bankruptcy is in your best interest.
An Attorney Files the Appropriate Bankruptcy Documents
Filing for bankruptcy involves its fair share of paperwork and missing even a single required document could cause the court to dismiss your case. Unless you’re well-versed in the filing process, chances are you won’t know which schedules and other documents you must file.
A bankruptcy attorney, on the other hand, will ensure you file all of the required paperwork for your case. This includes a lengthy federal packet, and in some cases, local forms too. An attorney also knows which tax documents you must furnish, as well as the proper way to value your assets and disclose your financial data.
An Attorney Understands the Importance of Filing Motions
Not many pro se filers (if any) understand the importance of filing motions during a bankruptcy case. More importantly, even those that do realize filing a motion could result in a better outcome don’t fully understand how to conduct the process properly. That’s where a bankruptcy attorney comes in.
As the defendant, you may want to get an injunction, object to a discharge, or obtain a ruling on something related to the bankruptcy case. But if you don’t understand how to file a motion, chances are you won’t achieve what you’re looking to accomplish. An attorney deeply understands bankruptcy and court proceedings and can accomplish these things with ease.
A Bankruptcy Attorney Knows How to Handle Violations of the Automatic Stay
When you file for bankruptcy, whether it’s Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, an automatic stay goes into effect. This stay prevents creditors from taking any further collection actions against you, including phone calls and wage garnishments. But some creditors don’t know when to stop. A bankruptcy attorney thoroughly understands the stipulations of an automatic stay and will handle any creditors who violate that stay appropriately.
Need a Bankruptcy Attorney in Minneapolis? Contact Ron Lundquist, Attorney at Law
If you’re planning to file for bankruptcy, you shouldn’t do it without the help of an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Get in touch with my office today to discuss your case and determine whether filing is the best option for your financial situation. To learn more or schedule a free consultation, call me at 651-454-0007 or contact my office online.