Why do I need a lawyer? Can’t I fill out the forms myself?
Hiring an attorney to represent you in a bankruptcy proceeding is not necessary. Yep, you heard that straight from a lawyer. However, there are some things you need to know before you undertake to represent yourself.
Most cases filed without an attorney fail for technical reasons. That means you may be denied the ability to get bankruptcy protection simply because you misunderstood a letter from the Bankruptcy Court. If your case gets dismissed because you failed to comply with the legal requirements after you filed, it may be very difficult for you to file again.
If you don’t know the law, you don’t know how to use it to protect your property. Anyone can type forms, however, would you know how to properly prepare the forms to save your property? I have witnessed many unfortunate bankruptcy horror stories that resulted from the lack of adequate legal advice. I have seen people lose their homes because they filed the wrong type of bankruptcy. Don’t risk your property based upon something you read on the internet.
The internet is no substitution for real legal advice. The internet is swarming with self-help legal sites, however, not every self-help site is tailored for a bankruptcy filing in Alabama. Alabama has opted out of certain federal guidelines that may affect your case. In addition, each bankruptcy district has its own set of Judges, Trustees and Creditors. If you receive information from the internet on how to file in New Hampshire, you may be really upset when you find out that Alabama doesn’t follow those rules. It could mean the difference between keeping your property or losing it.
The bankruptcy code is very complicated. I’m not saying you aren’t a smart cookie (after all, you found my site!), however, in 2005, Congress enacted the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act. This act, in essence, made bankruptcy filing much more difficult and subject to a number of complicated legal forms and requirements. Even today, bankruptcy judges and attorneys across the country are still trying to understand and interpret the laws even with zillions of years of experience. So, why then try to represent yourself armed solely with what Uncle Joe told you happened in his case 10 years ago.
- If you were sick with a horrible disease, would you try to treat yourself? Think about it.