Filing for bankruptcy can be a complex process requiring much attention to detail. Corporations and partnerships are required to have an attorney in order to file for bankruptcy. While not required for individual people, having an attorney through the bankruptcy process may help protect more of your assets and discharge more of your debt, in addition to helping avoid harmful mistakes.
For instance, all debts must be listed by the debtor in the debtor’s bankruptcy schedule. Any debt not listed may not be discharged.
If a debtor does not file a required document, the debtor’s bankruptcy case may be dismissed. Due to restrictions found in bankruptcy laws, the debtor may not be able to file again or may lose protections in a later case.
People without attorneys are expected to know the laws and the rules and follow these requirements the same way that an attorney would.
Additionally, there are other steps a debtor must take, such as completing credit counseling from an appropriate source within 180 days of filing for bankruptcy, which is generally required. Next the person must fill out the appropriate paperwork to document completion of this counseling. A mistake here could also result in the debtor’s case being dismissed.
Therefore, you can see how important it is to understand what you need to do, and do it right.
Other Areas of Concern: Avoiding Bankruptcy
Homeowners who are having trouble or have fallen behind in making their mortgage payments may have options that would allow them to avoid foreclosure and bankruptcy.
Beware of offers made once your house is in foreclosure – there are a number of fraudulent schemes specifically directed at individuals facing foreclosure. Contact your state attorney general or other state consumer protection agency regarding any suspicious proposal, such as one that requires transferring your property to a third party in order to avoid foreclosure.
Beware of bankruptcy petition preparers who do not comply with all legal requirements. The role of non-attorney petition preparers is solely to type information on bankruptcy forms, which are available on the United States Courts website at no charge.
Petition preparers are barred by law from providing legal advice – they cannot explain how to answer legal questions or assist in bankruptcy court. Petition preparers must sign all documents they prepare; print their name, address, and social security number on such documents; and furnish copies to the debtor. They cannot sign a document on the debtor’s behalf or receive payment from the debtor for court fees.
Bankruptcy is an important decision in your life with important benefits. Your only purpose in filing bankruptcy is to acquire those benefits – make sure you do.