Do I need an attorney for simply filing a bankruptcy petition? 27 Answers as of June 29, 2013

Do I need an attorney for simply filing a bankruptcy petition?

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Evan Guthrie Law Firm
Evan Guthrie Law Firm | Evan Guthrie
You can act as your own attorney, but is strongly recommended that you have a bankruptcy attorney.
Answer Applies to: South Carolina
Replied: 6/22/2012
Robert Peters, P.A.
Robert Peters, P.A. | Robert L. Peters
Sure. You can file your own bankruptcy petition. A lawyer is not required. However, be careful, bankruptcy laws are complex so make sure that you fully understand what you are doing prior to filing your petition. Most attorney fees for simple chapter 7 cases are very reasonable. Look at it this way, you would not perform surgery on yourself or cut your own hair. Take advantage of a free consultation that most bankruptcy attorney's offer. There's no obligation and you only walk away more informed.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 6/22/2012
Debt Crushers
Debt Crushers | Emily Chase Smith
I always say yes, unless your bankruptcy is very simple and you are ready to make your bankruptcy your part-time job. It's painful to sit in court and watch "pro per" filers make errors that cost them assets or money. Many times the bankruptcy fees will pay for themselves in assets you can keep. They will always pay for themselves in hassle and peace of mind.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/19/2012
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
A client just left who got one all wrong. Now she is hiring me to redo it. Some people can do themselves, some can't. If you have equity in anything, get a lawyer for sure.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/19/2012
Debt Relief Law Center | Roger J. Bus
Bankruptcy attorneys are relatively inexpensive to hire compared to other areas of law. Otherwise, you need to study many hours and hours to make sure you do it correctly- there have been many "pro per" cases filed in the Western District of Michigan over the years that have been a disaster because the Filer did not fully understand bankruptcy laws and procedures.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 6/18/2012
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    No, attorneys are not required to file a bankruptcy petition. It is recommended, but not required.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/18/2012
    Steven Harrell, Attorney at Law | Waymon Steven Harrell
    Yes, you really do.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 5/29/2013
    The Smalley Law Firm, LLC | Cary Smalley
    I suggest you retain an attorney to ensure that all creditors are properly included and to ensure that all exemptions are properly taken, among other things. If a mistake is made your case could be dismissed, a debt could not be discharged, or some of your property could be taken.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 6/18/2012
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
    I believe you should use an attorney when filing a bankruptcy but you can file pro se and buy a book to guide you through the process if you prefer.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/18/2012
    Olson Law Firm | Edward M Olson
    You are not required to have an attorney. However, I strongly recommend that you use one. Bankruptcy is not simple. If you are your own attorney, you will be expected to follow the law and court rules (even if you do not know them).
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/18/2012
    G. Anthony Yuthas & Assoc.
    G. Anthony Yuthas & Assoc. | Tony Yuthas
    Only if you want it done correctly.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/29/2013
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis | Eric Lewis
    Yes, you should get an attorney. You can pull your own teeth and perform your own surgery - right? But is it a good idea? Bankruptcy is not simple - it is a complicated and highly technical area of law. Many people have mistakenly thought it was "simple" and ended up needlessly losing money and property.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 6/18/2012
    Debt Relief Legal Clinic | Daniel J. Wiedecker
    *No it is not necessary to hire an attorney to file a bankruptcy case. However, ignorance of the law is not excused by the system. A 'self representing' filer is held to the same standard of law an attorney is, and what may seem like a simple 'mistake' can end up in a filer losing property, or being forced into an unexpected repayment plan. Most bankruptcy practitioners will provide a free consultation to assess one's potential case, so minimum standard advice is to consult with a professional before undertaking 'pro per' representation.*
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/18/2012
    Charles Schneider, P.C.
    Charles Schneider, P.C. | Charles J. Schneider
    Why is it simply? Yes there is no law that says you cannot do it alone. However, it is best that you have four years of undergraduate education, a juries doctor degree and a license to practice law. But even then I would not do it alone because even a new born attorney would not know how to answer the questions on this list. They would have to be mentored by me for a few years and then they may only be competent. I have filed bankruptcy for other attorneys who felt they were not competent to do it themselves.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/18/2012
    Attorney At Law | Harry D. Roth
    It is not nearly as simple as you think. It is not legally required for you to have an attorney to file, but the vast majority of filers find it too complex to do it without help.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/18/2012
    Rosenberg & Press
    Rosenberg & Press | Max L. Rosenberg
    Clearly you know that you need an attorney to file a bankruptcy petition because they went to school for very long time and have studied for very long time to learn the federal and state statutes that can exempt your property that you do not know. You may as well try to change the transmission in your own car without a mechanic as file a petition in bankruptcy without a lawyer who knows what they're doing. Hire an experienced bankruptcy attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/18/2012
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc.
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc. | David VanDyke
    My advice is that a person seeking to involve themselves with a legal proceeding should always have an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/18/2012
    Ferguson & Ferguson
    Ferguson & Ferguson | Jackie Ferguson Graham
    You do not have to have an attorney, but some of the forms are complex.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 6/18/2012
    Steven Alpers | Steven Alpers
    No but it can be difficult.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/18/2012
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    Fling a bankruptcy is far from simple and the petition is a small part. Almost always, pro se cases are disasters. You may lose a discharge, lose property or even end up in jail. DON'T make this mistake! Unless you are familiar with all these common events, you are unequipped to file pro se: motion to avoid lien, using the wildcard and homestead exemptions creatively, complaint regarding dischargeability, lien stripping, reaffirmations, motion to lift stay, bad faith challenge, means test, etc.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/18/2012
    Law Offices of Diann C. Moseley | Diann Moseley
    The law does not require that you use an attorney. Whether it is wise or not depends on you and your circumstances. A bankruptcy attorney is like an accident insurance policy, the real value is not appreciated or even valued until something goes wrong.
    Answer Applies to: District of Columbia
    Replied: 6/17/2012
    Law Office of D.L. Drain, P.A.
    Law Office of D.L. Drain, P.A. | Diane L. Drain
    As Judge Baum (an Arizona bankruptcy judge) you don't need a surgeon to do surgery, but it would be wise to use one. It is not required by the law that you use an attorney to file for bankruptcy, but it would be wise to use a competent bankruptcy attorney. Please understand that Bankruptcy is a very complicated process. It is wise to talk to an experienced bankruptcy attorney before deciding to take this important step.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 6/17/2012
    CONSUMER PROTECTION ASSISTANCE COALITION, INC. (DE).
    CONSUMER PROTECTION ASSISTANCE COALITION, INC. (DE). | Gary Lee Lane
    If you want it done safely.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A | R. Jason de Groot
    There is a mountain of things that need to be done in filing a bankruptcy. It does not require simply filing a petition. If you read the pamphlet on my website concerning chapter 7, you will see an explanation of all the documents that must be filed. Heck, my questionaire is over 20 pages long, and all of the documents that need to be filed average around 50 or 60 pages. So, you do need an attorney for a bankruptcy. There are petition preparers who will fill out all of the paperwork for you, but they simply cannot give you legal advice. I have been doing bankruptcies for people for over 26 years. A petition preparer is not going to know the law. Hire an attorney in your area.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    Do you need a dentist to simply do a tooth filling? Bankruptcy is more than filling out forms. I have answered questions from many people on this site why the trustee was taking property from them to pay creditors when they filed bankruptcy themselves. You decide.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Ursula G. Barrios Law
    Ursula G. Barrios Law | Guillermo Machado
    Do you need a doctor or some medical professional to apply stitches to a wound? Best to go with an attorney to do things that involve the courts. Butn you have the right to do it yourself if you can learn all the procedures.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/15/2012
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