DIY Bankruptcy Versus Hiring a Low Cost Attorney

As you may know, bankruptcy can be a very hard road. You probably never saw yourself in this financial situation and its a big slice of humble pie to swallow. However, once you decide it’s time to consider filing for bankruptcy, it’s natural to wonder if you can do it yourself. Your financial situation has probably never been worse, and even if you are able to find a cheap bankruptcy lawyer, adding the expense of an attorney might not seem like a good idea.

Does DIY bankruptcy make sense in comparison to using a bankruptcy lawyer? Here’s a quick look at doing it by yourself, versus an attorney led bankruptcy filing. Along the way, we’ll also share several older guides written on similar subjects, for you to take in at the same time.

Reasons to File Bankruptcy Yourself

Every state allows for DIY bankruptcy filing. Most warn against doing it, but it is your right to go it alone. You’ll save the $750 to $2,500 that even the cheapest bankruptcy attorney charges. If you don’t have a lot of property with very few assets and your credit is horrible, it might make sense to file yourself. In other words, if you don’t have a lot of assets to protect, then DIY bankruptcy might be a sound solution in comparison to hiring a lawyer. The LegalConsumer website has a state by state listing of bankruptcy forms for you to download.

Before you get started, take a few minutes to learn about the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 bankruptcy, as well as what to expect from creditors, and how to deal with student loans and bankruptcy.

Reasons to Use a Bankruptcy Attorney

If you have any significant assets, it’s not wise to put them at risk by going through the DIY process versus going with an attorney directed bankruptcy. Mistakes in your strategy or paperwork can lead to you losing a significant amount of money from your retirement funds, home equity, tax refunds, trusts, partnerships and other financial assets that could be protected by a skilled bankruptcy lawyer.

For example, leaving a creditor off of the paperwork means that you’ll have to satisfy that creditor in full because you can’t re-file for bankruptcy for up to 7 years in most states or add a creditor to the case after the fact. Secondly, if you fail to protect a property the right way, it’s possible that it will have to be sold off for money toward a settlement with your creditors.

If you decide to take the representation route, read these tips for finding a cheap bankruptcy attorney, and also, 8 questions to ask before hiring a bankruptcy attorney.

Petition Preparers Aren’t the Answer

Some advocates of low-cost legal help talk about petition preparers that will assist in DIY bankruptcy. However, these individuals only fill out paperwork at your direction. You run the same risk of missing a creditor or not protecting property. A better idea is to seek low-cost legal help from a DIY attorney who is willing to give you services for free or at a discount based on your financial need.

Unless your case is very straightforward and your assets are few, hiring a low-cost attorney versus DIY bankruptcy is a choice that will protect your assets and your financial future. You can read more at the website, where they have additional info on what to expect during a bankruptcy proceeding.