Do I Need An Attorney?

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If you have spent some time researching the subject of bankruptcy, you probably already know that bankruptcy law is complex. Filing bankruptcy can be one of the most stressful events you possibly experience in your life. Hiring a qualified professional to protect your rights and navigate the process is almost always in your best interest.

However, with that said, you can file a bankruptcy petition "pro se" Most legal dictionaries define the term "pro se" as someone who represents his/her self in a legal procedure without the aid of an attorney. It is an established tenet that you have the right to represent yourself in a court of law, however, many people do not understand that choosing to represent yourself means that the Court will expect you to follow the same rules and procedures that a Fort Lauderdale bankruptcy attorney must follow.

Even if you think your case is simple, it is easy for the untrained to make mistakes that can cost thousands of dollars and/or result in the denial of a discharge.

Some common mistakes made by people who try to represent themselves in bankruptcy include:

  • Making large cash advances, balance transfers or large charges shortly before filing;
  • Not listing assets;
  • Not taking full advantage of available exemptions;
  • Not including all your creditors;
  • Underestimating living expenses;
  • Misunderstanding the means test;
  • Not conducting any pre-filing bankruptcy planning;
  • Not spending your bank balance down on approved items on the day of filing;
  • Filing when you have a tax refund pending;
  • Cashing out retirement plans;
  • Filing with a claim against others that is not disclosed or not thoroughly discussed with an attorney first;
  • Paying or giving money or assets to your family before filing;
  • Not showing up for court ordered hearings.
  • Failing to send the trustee the required documents prior to the 341 Meeting

If you decide to file your bankruptcy petition pro se, visit our web page entitled "I want to file bankruptcy on my own" for helpful links to bankruptcy forms and links to the information that you'll need to prepare your petition.

The Bankruptcy Law Firm of Clare Casas handles bankruptcy cases in Miami, Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale, Plantation, Pembroke Pines, Sunrise, Coconut Creek, Cooper City, Dania, Davie, Deerfield Beach, Hallandale, Hollywood, Inverrary, Lauderdale Lakes, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Lauderhill, Margate, Lighthouse Point, Miramar, North Lauderdale, Oakland Park, Pembroke Park, Tamarac, Weston, Wilton Manors, Pompano, Coral Springs, Boca Raton, Delray and South Florida.

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