Do I need a lawyer to file bankruptcy? 27 Answers as of June 14, 2011

Do I need a lawyer to file for bankruptcy or can I do it myself?

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Law Offices of Michael J. Berger
Law Offices of Michael J. Berger | Michael J. Berger
It is best to have a lawyer represent you. I have practiced bankruptcy law for 29 years and am certified by the State Bar of California as a Specialist in Bankruptcy Law. I know many things about bankruptcy that you do not know.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/14/2011
Mercado & Hartung, PLLC
Mercado & Hartung, PLLC | Christopher J. Mercado
It is not required to retain counsel but recommended.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 6/7/2011
Jackson White, PC
Jackson White, PC | Spencer Hale
You do not need a lawyer to file bankruptcy. You could also try to take your appendix out by yourself, but I would not recommend it. There are many things that could go wrong, and even more that could be screwed up if not done properly. My advice is to hire an attorney.
Answer Applies to: Arizona
Replied: 6/7/2011
Burnham & Associates
Burnham & Associates | Stephanie K. Burnham
While you may be savvy enough to fill out forms and understand the basic rules, there is always the possibility that you may miss something. That being said, you may be able to understand the basic steps and procedure for removing your appendix, but you should probably have a professional actually perform the surgery.
Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
Replied: 6/7/2011
Delventhal Law Office LLC
Delventhal Law Office LLC | Chad Delventhal
You can file for bankruptcy without an attorney. However, you are held to the same standards by the bankruptcy court as an attorney.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 6/7/2011
    Daniel Hoarfrost, Attorney at Law
    Daniel Hoarfrost, Attorney at Law | Daniel Hoarfrost
    You are allowed to file it yourself. It's much less stressful to hire a lawyer.The cost of a typical Ch 7 is around $1,500.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    The Northwest Debt Relief Law Firm
    The Northwest Debt Relief Law Firm | Thomas A McAvity
    You can file bankruptcy on your own. In my mind, only a complete idiot would do so. I have been practicing bankruptcy for ten years and if I ever need to file, I will retain another attorney to handle my case.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc.
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc. | David VanDyke
    My answer to this question is always yes. A bankruptcy proceeding can be a difficult legal proceeding that requires legal expertise. Some people in simple cases have done it themselves. However, I have seen many people that have lost valuable assets to the court because they didn't have an attorney. Once you file a bk and you find that you ar going to lose some of your property. The will generally not let you dismiss your case. Get legal help on this.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis | Eric Lewis
    It is highly advised that you seek advice from a bankruptcy lawyer to file for bankruptcy relief. I have personally seen people who lost a lot of money and property because they didn't know what they were doing and tried to figure it out themselves. I know of one person who thought it would be cheaper to buy a $35 how-to kit from Office Depot and he ended up losing over $4,000 from his bank account because he didn't understand how the applicable exemptions worked. The cost of an attorney can make sure it's done right and you are well informed.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Law Office of Jackie Robert Geller
    Law Office of Jackie Robert Geller | Jackie Robert Geller
    You can do it yourself, but that is risky. Bankruptcy law is complicated and if the petition is not done correctly, you may lose some valuable protections. See an attorney who will work with you on the payments.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Rosenberg & Press
    Rosenberg & Press | Max L. Rosenberg
    You need a lawyer to file bankruptcy. It is possible to do it on your own, but in my opinion, attempting such a thing would be like trying to learn how to sky dive while doing your taxes, without ever having received mathematical or flight instruction. Its a real bad idea. Thanks for tuning in!
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
    Most bankruptcies are filed with the assistance of an attorney. It generally would be inadvisable to file pro se. Some factors might be the amount of debt owed and whether assets are minimal. You can seek the advice of an attorney to weigh the pros and cons.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    If you want to probably not get a discharge, lose assets and not get the full benefit of filing, do it yourself. If you want to get rid of all the debt you can, and keep as many assets as possible, get a lawyer. It is nearly impossible to successfully complete a pro se bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Carballo Law Offices
    Carballo Law Offices | Tony E. Carballo
    You can do it yourself just like you can treat your own illnesses, fix your own car/tv/washing machine/computer, etc. or replace your own roof but it is dangerous to represent oneself in such a delicate and dangerous matter. At the very least you will have to spend a great deal of time learning the law and procedure and hope you understand it and don't make a serious mistake. If you make a mistake you will probably have to live with the consequences, including possibly losing property and even being denied a discharge. You cannot dismiss a Chapter 7 case without permission from the court and that is not always granted so there is no easy way out. As the old adage says: "A person who represents himself has a fool for a client."
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Baldwin, Valley & Wallace
    Baldwin, Valley & Wallace | Helen Clare Wallace
    You can do it yourself, or you can hire a bankruptcy petition preparer or an attorney. Please be aware though that only an attorney can give you legal advice, and the bankruptcy process is quite complicated.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Symmes Law Group, PLLC
    Symmes Law Group, PLLC | Richard James Symmes
    You do not need a lawyer to file bankruptcy as you may file Pro-se. It is advisable to file bankruptcy with an attorney as they can make sure the process goes smoothly and look for any red flags that may impact your assets or bankruptcy case. An attorney can advise you on the various bankruptcy laws in your jurisdiction as well.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Bankruptcy Law Office of Robert Weed
    Bankruptcy Law Office of Robert Weed | Robert Weed
    You can do it yourself. You can cut your own hair, rebuild your own engine, remove your own appendix. Somebody who does it all the time might do a better job for you.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    Well, technically I know the steps involved in how to change the tire on my car. That does not mean I can physically do it and get it right. So filing your own bankruptcy is sort of the same....you may be able to figure out how to fill out the forms. That does not mean you will do it right or get yourself the best deal in the process. I charge more to "fix" cases that have gone south than I do to do them correctly in the first place. A mess is always more difficult to straighten out.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus | Mark Markus
    You can do it yourself, but it's never advised. There's way too much at risk and too many things that can go wrong that will cost you thousands of dollars to fix later if it's even possible at that time.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    You can do it yourself. You can also drill you own teeth and fill the cavities without a dentist too. If you do it wrong, you could lose property to a bankruptcy trustee not knowing the law that an attorney would know.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley | Maureen O'Malley
    There is no law requiring you to have an attorney, but it's smarter and safer to be represented. The law is confusing and has too many little traps that can cost you dearly. I've seen even new lawyers get caught up in them. It's worth the small cost to get rid of all that debt and be left with the peace of mind from knowing it's done for you and done right!
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    You aren't required to file using an attorney, but it is strongly recommended. If you are in my area, please contact me for a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Ursula G. Barrios Law
    Ursula G. Barrios Law | Guillermo Machado
    You're better off with a lawyer. You wouldn't perform surgery on yourself. Don't file bankruptcy by yourself.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis | Todd Mannis
    You're allowed to do it yourself. But you're also allowed to work on your own teeth, if you so choose, but I suspect you'd rather have a dentist do that. Same thing here. Things can get complicated quickly. Be smart.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Dearbonn Law Offices
    Dearbonn Law Offices | Ajibola Oluyemisi Oladapo
    If you feel comfortable enough to represent yourself with a clear understanding of dischargeable and undischargeable debts, a grasp of the rules relating to exemptions ( homestead and property), then you may represent yourself. However, if you have done some research and you are confused, then I suggest you hire an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/6/2011
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