Do I Really Need an Attorney to File Bankruptcy?

June 17, 2019

You’re already struggling to make ends meet, and maybe you aren’t even able to do that. The last thing you want to do is pay a hefty attorney fee to file the bankruptcy that you desperately need to start over. So, do you really need a bankruptcy attorney? The short answer is no. Bankruptcy laws do not require you to have an attorney file your bankruptcy. You can file yourself if you are filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. However, that doesn’t mean that it is a good idea to file on your own.

Filing a Simple Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

This may be your best bet for filing a successful bankruptcy without the help of an attorney. A simple bankruptcy means that your household income is below the median income level for the state, you have very little property, you haven’t made any payments to creditors or property transfers recently, and your creditors aren’t likely to claim your debts as nondischargeable during the filing.

It is important to keep in mind, though, that even if you can file a simple Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it will require a lot of research and time on your part to do so. To file on your own successfully, you will need to correctly fill out bankruptcy schedules and forms, know how bankruptcy laws work, know the exemptions for South Carolina, and follow the procedures and rules to complete the process.

Why You May Want an Attorney Even if You Can Do It on Your Own

In many cases, even if you can file the bankruptcy on your own, it may still be in your best interest to hire an experienced bankruptcy attorney. If you are filing for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will be able to catch up on any missed car loan or mortgage payments, eliminate unsecured loans and even a second mortgage through lien stripping, and reduce the interest rate and principal balance on your car loan.

However, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is often much more labor-intensive and complex than a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You will have to propose a feasible repayment plan that is fair to your creditors. In addition, if you want to strip down your car loan or second mortgage, you will have to file additional paperwork.

If you have a complex Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it only makes sense to hire an attorney for a more complicated case. For a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you should consider hiring an attorney if your income is significant enough that it may disqualify you from being able to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, if you have a lot of assets that could be at risk, if you own a business, if your debts may not be dischargeable through bankruptcy, if you have creditors that could challenge your discharge, or if you have recently transferred assets out of your name.

Contact an Experienced Bankruptcy Attorney Today

Filing bankruptcy is daunting enough but can be especially hard if you try to do it without an attorney. The attorneys at David Aylor Law Offices will help guide you through the process and help ensure that your case is handled professionally and efficiently to get you the results you need. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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