They say a man who represents himself in court has a fool for a client.
But that only applies to life-or-death situations, right? We are talking about bankruptcy, not the possibility of death row. This isn’t the O.J. Simpson trial or some episode of Law and Order. It’s just a bunch of paperwork you submit to the court.
What’s the worst that could happen if I file bankruptcy myself?
On a Serious Budget
This question might annoy attorneys, but it really is a legitimate question. After all, attorneys aren’t exactly free (unless you get lucky enough to find somebody who will take your case pro bono), and if you are filing for bankruptcy you probably don’t have a pile of money hidden in your mattress.
So why not file yourself and save a few bucks?
Don’t Shoot Yourself in the Foot
Don’t take it from me. This list is based on what the US Bankruptcy Court says about filing without an attorney.
- The bankruptcy rules are complicated and take years of legal practice to fully understand.
- A tiny mistake can completely derail your case, potentially causing it to be dismissed completely.
- If your case gets dismissed, you might not be allowed to re-file a new one. Bankruptcy simply will no longer be an option for you.
- Even if you are allowed to re-file a case, you might lose your ability to protect yourself from creditors.
- If your case is successful and you are able to eliminate your debt, mistakes you make could still result in the loss of some of your personal assets, such as your car or your home.
In part 2 we will see some more reasons why filing bankruptcy without an attorney is a bad idea. And if the statistics don’t scare you into hiring someone to file your case, we will take a look at the big picture of just how much debt you stand to eliminate versus the cost of your attorney.