Should I Hire a Fort Lauderdale Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney Or File It Myself?

On behalf of Bankruptcy Law Firm of Clare Casas on Monday, August 16, 2010.

You've done your research and read everything you can on the internet about Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The forms don't look too difficult. Why not do it yourself? After all, representing yourself in court proceedings is a fundamental right, isn't it?

Having the right to do something doesn't mean that doing so is always the wisest thing to do. I've sat through many 341 meetings where the debtor represented themselves and although they were good enough in filling out the forms to get to the 341 meeting - once there, the result wasn't exactly what they thought it would be. I've seen cases get dismissed for a variety of reasons that had nothing to do with filling out the forms. In most cases, do-it-yourselfers get through that part okay. They are able to put the correct information in the right box. But there's more to filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy than that.

Filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a major decision that will impact your life for years. What many people overlook is the law behind the forms that will dictate many things such as when you file your case (timing can sometimes be very important); how to list certain assets; what assets to list; what is exempt and what isn't; how to allocate exemption money; are you missing exemptions that you don't know about? The list goes on and on.

Just this week, I saw someone get their case dismissed for failing to provide the trustee with supplemental documents. We do have very good trustees in this district and many times I have heard them suggest to non-lawyer filers that they consult with an attorney. Usually that means that their bankruptcy filing has major problems and they should take the trustee's advice to heart. They're only trying to help them.

So what should you do? You should take the time to discuss your financial situation with a qualified Broward County area bankruptcy attorney. In most cases, the cost of hiring an attorney is small in comparison to the amount of debt you will be getting rid of.

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