Do I need to get an attorney when filing bankruptcy? 26 Answers as of October 17, 2013

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Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
Some people, yes. Especially if they have assets.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/17/2013
Charles R. Chesnutt, P.C.
Charles R. Chesnutt, P.C. | Charles R. Chesnutt
There no law that requires you to get an attorney to file a bankruptcy. But it is plain smart to do so. You could lose a great deal - and save a great deal - of assets and stress by just doing it right the first time.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 10/17/2013
Michael B. McFarland, P.A. | Michael B. McFarland
Legally, no; but since you asked the question, you are obviously unfamiliar with bankruptcy law, and would be well-advised to consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney before making a decision.
Answer Applies to: Idaho
Replied: 10/16/2013
A Fresh Start
A Fresh Start | Dorothy G Bunce
It all depends on how you define "need." Most people that represent themselves in a bankruptcy end up losing property that they could have protected if they had obtained representation, but some folks want to play lawyer and have to learn the hard way. No law requires you to hire an attorney to file bankruptcy.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 10/15/2013
R. Steven Chambers PLLC | R. Steven Chambers PLLC
You do not have to have an attorney to file bankruptcy. You can do it yourself. Ask yourself these questions: Do you know how to complete Schedules A-J? Do you know what exemptions you are entitled to in your state? Do you know which bankruptcy is best for your circumstances? Do you know how to complete the Statement of Financial Affairs? Do you know how to calculate your Current Monthly Income (Means test)? Do you know the difference between Current Monthly Income and Disposable Income? Do you know whether a reaffirmation agreement is in your best interests? If a creditor files a complaint to deny you a discharge, do you know how to respond? If a creditor files a motion for relief from the automatic stay, do you know how to respond? If the trustee or a creditor notices a debtor's examination (2004 examination) do you know what to do? Do you know what documents you will need at your 341 meeting (also called a First Meeting of Creditors)? If you can answer "yes" honestly to each of these questions, you might not need a lawyer. Needing a lawyer and being required to have a lawyer are two different things.
Answer Applies to: Utah
Replied: 10/15/2013
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
    Technically no, you can file on your own, but most people who file on their own fail. It is not that easy if you are not familiar with the bankruptcy process and the trustees do not really like "pro se" filers.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/15/2013
    Philip R. Boardman, Attorney at Law
    Philip R. Boardman, Attorney at Law | Phil Boardman
    That is highly recommended.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 10/15/2013
    Scott Goldstein | Scott Goldstein
    Filing for bankruptcy without a lawyer is like doing your own appendectomy - you can do it, but it will likely be painful, messy and leave you worse off. You can do it yourself, but it's a bad idea.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 10/15/2013
    Ferguson & Ferguson
    Ferguson & Ferguson | Randy W. Ferguson
    Of course you do if you want it done right.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 10/15/2013
    Tokarska Law Center
    Tokarska Law Center | Kathryn U. Tokarska
    It is not required but it could make sense to do so. Statistically speaking, for example, Central District in California in 2011 reported chapter 13 failure rate for self-represented individuals @99%.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/15/2013
    William Bidwell, Attorney at Law | Bill Bidwell
    You can petition a bankruptcy yourself, but an attorney will certainly help.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/14/2013
    Portland Bankruptcy Law Group
    Portland Bankruptcy Law Group | Christopher J. Kane
    Bankruptcy law is very complicated, and there a lot of procedures and rules involved when you file a bankruptcy case. Sometimes if you make a mistake when filing that mistake cannot be remedied unless you are an attorney. I highly recommend that you hire an attorney to prepare and file your bankruptcy case on your behalf so you can fully protect yourself and achieve your goals.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 10/14/2013
    Law Offices of Linda Rose Fessler | Linda Fessler
    No, but it is advisable if you have a complicated situation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/14/2013
    Elkington Law
    Elkington Law | Sally Elkington
    That is a very interesting question. Especially on a site where attorneys are going to give you an answer. In all honesty, there are some people who file very simple Chapter 7 bankruptcy by themselves and it works out. But I think, in many cases those are the minority. Bankruptcies can be very confusing and difficult. And the consequences of not doing it right are tremendous and costly. The old adage, "you get what you pay for", really is true in bankruptcy filings. Be careful out there.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/14/2013
    McMahan Law Firm
    McMahan Law Firm | Van D. McMahan
    You don't legally have to have an attorney. However, it is very difficult to file it on your own. Bankruptcy is not a simple subject and it's not something any lawyer is capable of doing without training and experience. You could make your situation much worse if it's not handled correctly by an experienced attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Tennessee
    Replied: 10/14/2013
    Stittleburg Law Office
    Stittleburg Law Office | Bernd Stittleburg
    It would be wise to do so.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 10/14/2013
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Marjorie Guymon
    While you do not need an attorney I highly recommend retaining one to navigate the complex process.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 10/14/2013
    Law Offices of David A. Tilem | Michael Avanesian
    You don't have to but it is recommended. Specially if you have assets.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/14/2013
    Stuart P Gelberg
    Stuart P Gelberg | Stuart P Gelberg
    No but the success rate for pro se is dismal
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/14/2013
    Mark S Cherry, Attorney at Law, PC
    Mark S Cherry, Attorney at Law, PC | Mark Cherry
    It is not required by law but would you remove your own appendix?
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 10/14/2013
    Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C.
    Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C. | Stuart M. Nachbar
    While not required, usually you will be better off if you do
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 10/14/2013
    Deborah F Bowinski, Attorney & Counselor at Law | Debby Bowinski
    You are not required to have an attorney when you file bankruptcy. However, the laws are quite complicated and the information required for filing is extensive and detailed. Filing for bankruptcy is much more that filling out forms, and many people make very painful mistakes in filing without the benefit of legal advice and assistance. I have seen people lose their homes, their cars, their savings, etc. because they did not understand the consequences of filing. In order to protect what little you may own, it is well worth the cost of the legal fee to hire a competent and experienced bankruptcy lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 10/14/2013
    Paul Stuber, Attorney at Law
    Paul Stuber, Attorney at Law | Paul Stuber
    You are not required to have an attorney, but it is a very complicated process.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 10/14/2013
    The Needleman Law Office | Scott Needleman
    You always have the right to go it alone. Beware that this is a paper heavy, time sensitive legal process and the chances of success are rare. I would recommend you seek a free consultation and make your decision after the meeting.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 10/14/2013
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    It is highly recommended. You can file on your own but it is not wise.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/14/2013
    Charles Schneider, P.C.
    Charles Schneider, P.C. | Charles J. Schneider
    I would hire a dentist to pull my teeth so consequently I would hire an attorney to file my bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/14/2013
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