Why should I hire an attorney when filing for bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy in the United States has its own set of rules and codes that make up a specialized section of the law. As such, there is a defined legal procedure that must be followed when filing for bankruptcy. This legal process involves both federal and state laws, with matters ranging from the simple to the complex. A bankruptcy attorney is a crucial part of this process. When you hire a bankruptcy attorney, you ensure guidance and protection through this difficult procedure. More specifically, a bankruptcy attorney offers you:

An assessment of your financial situation.

When you first meet with a bankruptcy attorney, an examination of your finances will be done. A good attorney will spend time reviewing your current financial state and offer advice as to the best option for you to take. You will also receive a description of your rights and responsibilities should you decide to file for bankruptcy.

Navigating through the legal maze of bankruptcy codes and regulations can be overwhelming. A bankruptcy attorney can walk you through each step of the filing process and explain all regulations that affect your specific case.

Assurance that your petition is free-from-errors.

There is a tremendous amount of paperwork involved with filing a bankruptcy petition. The final petition must have a record of everything related to your financial matters. A bankruptcy attorney will make sure that your petition includes all relevant information and that it is listed in the proper place. It is important to note that every single bankruptcy case is audited by the U.S. Department of Justice, and bankruptcy fraud can constitute a felony. Obviously, you want to ensure that your petition is as accurate and precise as possible.

Protection from creditors.

This is a big one! You do not have to deal with harassment from creditors (e.g., debt collectors, collection agencies). A good bankruptcy attorney will explain your rights through the filing process and educate you on what creditor behavior is defined as “abusive” by the governing regulations. The attorney may even direct all communication with a creditor to only go through the attorney’s office.

Representation in court.

If the need should arise, a bankruptcy attorney will represent you in court. This assistance is only offered from an attorney; a paralegal or “bankruptcy petition preparer” cannot represent you in court, as they are strictly prohibited from practicing law.