Can I file a bankruptcy without hiring an attorney and only having a credit advisor? 21 Answers as of July 10, 2013

My credit advisor seems very knowledgeable and told me for an extra fee, his office will help me with all the filing. Should I still seek an attorney's advice?

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Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
Sounds like your "credit advisor" is practicing law without a license. That is against the law.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/6/2011
Mercado & Hartung, PLLC
Mercado & Hartung, PLLC | Christopher J. Mercado
Although not required, an attorney is recommended when filing a BK.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 6/30/2011
Benson Law Firm
Benson Law Firm | David Benson
Any lay person purporting to "help you with a filing" should be reported to the local bar association. He or she may be violating the law and probably does not have the legal acumen to ensure that your case is handled properly. This is especially true with filing a case under Chapter 13. While a qualified credit advisor may be good at working on your credit score following your bankruptcy discharge, he or she should not be relied upon as a substitute for an attorney. Remember, the consequences of messing up your bankruptcy case can be quite significant.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 6/29/2011
Law Offices of Alexzander C. J. Adams, P.C.
Law Offices of Alexzander C. J. Adams, P.C. | Alexzander Adams
You run the peril of not understanding exemption and asset planning. A non attorney is not qualified to properly advise clients about the law. It is the 80/20 rule at its best. 80% of the time you will be fine, it is the other 20% of the time that you will curse yourself for not hiring an attorney. Tread carefully.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 6/29/2011
Koch Laron Law
Koch Laron Law | Phillip Koch
Credit advisors are experts at credit counseling, not bankruptcy. If you are filing Im assuming you are trying to get rid of thousands in debt. For a few extra hundred dollars it is well worth it to consult with an attorney who specializes in bankruptcy. My firm handles many bankruptcies and I will be happy to provide a free consultation.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/28/2011
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley | Maureen O'Malley
    You can, but it would be foolhardy. What kind of credit advisor? What does s/he know about bankruptcy? Even lawyers who don't always file bankruptcies will have some difficulties. It's always wise to save money now and retain responsible representation than to have it blow up and cost a whole lot more.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 6/28/2011
    Law Office of Asaph Abrams
    Law Office of Asaph Abrams | Asaph Abrams
    I don't know what a credit advisor is, however it is illegal for a non-lawyer to practice law.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/28/2011
    Law Offices of Michael J. Berger
    Law Offices of Michael J. Berger | Michael J. Berger
    I recommend that you seek a bankruptcy attorney's advice before you file bankruptcy. Most bankruptcy attorneys offer a free consultation. I recommend that you hire a Certified Specialist in Bankruptcy Law if you decide to actually file bankruptcy. I have seen too many costly mistakes made by people who filed bankruptcy without an attorney, or with a bad attorney. These mistakes can lead to loss of your home and property, denial of discharge and even worse things.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/28/2011
    Jackson White, PC
    Jackson White, PC | Spencer Hale
    You should seek the advice of an attorney. An attorney is the only one who can legally provide you with legal advice about bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 6/28/2011
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis | Eric Lewis
    Bankruptcy is very technical and can be complex and it is always best to hire professional legal counsel - even for so-called "easy" cases.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 6/28/2011
    Burnham & Associates
    Burnham & Associates | Stephanie K. Burnham
    While I am sure they are very knowledgeable, nothing substitutes for the advice of an attorney. Many people use paralegals to assist them with filing the paperwork but the Paralegal and likewise the Credit Advisor cannot give you legal advice about reaffirmation agreements or attend the 341meeting with you, or which exemptions you may want to use and how to handle inquiries from the US Trustee.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 6/28/2011
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    All the credit advisor can do is fill out the papers. If they do anything else, for example determine which exemptions to use, it is the practice of law and they are legally prohibited from doing so. Only an attorney can provide legal advice.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/28/2011
    Law Offices of Steven A. Wolvek
    Law Offices of Steven A. Wolvek | Steven A. Wolvek
    You can but here are my thoughts. When my car breaks down I want to hire a mechanic familiar with my car and not a plumber. When I need to see a doctor I visit my primary care physician and not a chiropractor or a new age healer. When you file Bankruptcy I always suggest you use an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/28/2011
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
    There are special rules limiting what a non-attorney bankruptcy preparer can do and how much can be charged. Generally, it is a typing service fee of about $125-150. A bankruptcy preparer cannot provide legal advice.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/28/2011
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc.
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc. | David VanDyke
    My advice is that you should always hire an attorney for legal proceedings and you should hire a doctor when you need surgery. A non lawyer document preparer cannot charge you more than $125. If he is not an attorney and he attempts to charge you more than this he is breaking the law.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/28/2011
    Colorado Legal Solutions
    Colorado Legal Solutions | Stephen Harkess
    If your credit adviser is giving legal advice he is breaking the law. Without such advice, you are likely taking a big risk unless you study very hard. It is very difficult to make sure you have covered all the angles when you have never been involved in a bankruptcy case before. Having an experienced attorney can help head off serious trouble. You can try to represent yourself, but you may end up regretting that decision and costing yourself greatly.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/28/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    You should RUN away from the "credit advisor." He is committing a crime - practicing law without a license. Would you trust a criminal to assist you? You do realize he can't come to court with you to your hearings? Bankruptcies filed without lawyers tend to go very badly. And bear in mind, filing is a small piece of the puzzle. Do you know what to do at your 341 hearing? What do you do when a creditor or Trustee files a motion? Will you even know what option motions you should file, how to draft them (there are no forms for most), how to serve them, and what to do at a hearing? What do you do when a trustee or creditor complains about a preference, or if the court randomly audits your filing? Oftimes, having an attorney will save you money in that you will avoid expensive adverse consequences. Get a lawyer, and again, stop dealing with criminals who pretend to help you.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/28/2011
    Symmes Law Group, PLLC
    Symmes Law Group, PLLC | Richard James Symmes
    Yes you may file bankruptcy without an attorney, however it is not advisable. Would you want a nurse performing your surgery instead of a doctor? Same concept applies here, talk to a bankruptcy attorney in your jurisdiction to have piece of mind that things will get taken care of efficiently.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/28/2011
    Raxter Law
    Raxter Law | Jeremiah Raxter
    Bankruptcy is a complicated process and must be filed with care. If the petition is incorrect or contains errors it may cause the court to dismiss your petition. Also, only attorneys can give you legal advice. The "credit advisor" (not sure what exactly a credit advisor is) is merely filling out the paperwork/petition (since they cannot give legal advice). If you just want someone to fill out the paperwork, just do that yourself.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/28/2011
    Ursula G. Barrios Law
    Ursula G. Barrios Law | Guillermo Machado
    Not wise by you are allowed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/10/2013
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