Today I want to answer the question, you know, I had a really good consult with a bankruptcy lawyer and he didn’t charge me, and now I think I know enough to file my own bankruptcy case. Is that a good idea?
Well, you know, I’m a bankruptcy lawyer, so I’m again doing that. Why? I’ve found that a very high percentage of people who do their own bankruptcy cases have them dismissed because:
They don’t do their credit counseling properly.
They don’t fill out their paperwork properly.
They don’t fill out their paperwork on time. They miss the meeting of creditors.
They don’t answer all the questions completely, truthfully and accurately.
They don’t list all their assets.
They don’t list all of their income.
They don’t list all their expenses. Their expenses are not accurately presented.
The assets that they list have crazy all over the place value.
They don’t list the exemptions so they aren’t authorized to keep any of the stuff that they wanted to keep.
They don’t realize that they have assets that are at risk if they file.
They don’t realize that there are timing issues and that if they were being garnished they can get back some of that money.
They just don’t know about the process.
Chapter 13 is even worse than Chapter 7.
They don’t know how to fill out the plan papers.
They miss their plan payments because they don’t have somebody reminding them to do it.
They don’t adequately cure all the arrears on their home mortgage.
They miss the fact that they might be able to restructure their car loan in Chapter 13, if they’ve had it a sufficient period of time, or they expose their home to foreclosure because they filed the wrong chapter.
Bankruptcy is not a commodity. It’s a fairly complex procedure that really takes into consideration all of your financial circumstances. So my advice to that person is if you find a lawyer that you trust and that you feel is giving you good advice, you should work with that lawyer. See if the lawyer has payment plans that can make the process more affordable for you, and by all means go forward with that attorney.