How can I file for bankruptcy by myself? 29 Answers as of November 09, 2012

Is there really a need for an attorney?

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Rosenberg & Press
Rosenberg & Press | Max L. Rosenberg
Filing bankruptcy without an attorney is like trying to change your transmission without a car mechanic. Both operations cost approximately the same thing and if you try to change your transmission without a mechanic you will have an enormous paperweight when you are done. If you try to file bankruptcy without an attorney you will have a financial mess on your hands when you are done. It is incredibly ill advisable to try and file bankruptcy without an attorney. Unless you have spent years of accustoming yourself to all of the federal and state law exemptions regarding all of your personal property and your real property, it would be absurd to file bankruptcy without an attorney.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 6/15/2012
Marc S. Stern
Marc S. Stern | Marc S. Stern
You can certainly file by yourself. You can also fill your own teeth Both are possible and both are dangerous and painful. Of course there are some easy cases. Most are not.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 6/15/2012
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
You can do it yourself. But once a mistake is made regarding assets and the availability of exemptions the trustee may take the property in question.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/15/2012
Bird & VanDyke, Inc.
Bird & VanDyke, Inc. | David VanDyke
My advice is that you should have an attorney for any legal proceeding. Yes you hear about people struggling through it by themselves but I have seen alot of people who have unnecessarily lost their property because they didn't have an attorney. In my opinion its kind of like operating on yourself instead of hiring a doctor.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/15/2012
G. Anthony Yuthas & Assoc.
G. Anthony Yuthas & Assoc. | Tony Yuthas
Yes, you need an attorney.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 6/15/2012
    Compass Legal Group | Kelly Stairs
    Whether you can file without an attorney depends on your knowledge of the law and bankruptcy procedures. If you're unsure about whether you can file on your own, that seems to indicate you're unfamiliar with the rules and procedures, so you would probably be best served by hiring an attorney. Filing bankruptcy is a complex process, and the consequences for doing it wrong are severe.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    R. Steven Chambers PLLC | R. Steven Chambers PLLC
    If you can answer all of the questions that are posted on this website then you might not need an attorney. However, since you are asking how to file by yourself, it appears you could benefit from someone who has filed hundreds of cases for clients, such as an experienced attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 11/9/2012
    Law Office of D.L. Drain, P.A.
    Law Office of D.L. Drain, P.A. | Diane L. Drain
    Yes, you can file your own bankruptcy. But, to quote one of our Arizona bankruptcy judges "you don't need to hire a surgeon to do your surgery, but it might be smart" Therefore, hiring a good bankruptcy attorney is also very smart and helps you avoid some very serious problems in your bankruptcy. Understand that normally once you file your bankruptcy you cannot stop it without a court order. Therefore, it is wise to talk to an experienced bankruptcy attorney before deciding to take this important step. Most Arizona bankruptcy attorneys offer a free consultation about the basics of bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Dan Wilson Bankruptcy
    Dan Wilson Bankruptcy | Dan Wilson
    Yes, you need an attorney. In Colorado about 10% of cases are filed pro se. A large portion are not successful, debtors often lose assets they could have protected and there are difficulties with lien avoidance, garnishments, case closing and other issues.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Law Office of Pho Ethan Tran PLLC
    Law Office of Pho Ethan Tran PLLC | Pho Ethan Tran
    You can file for bankruptcy by yourself but you must still follow the same rules and regulations as attorneys do.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Charles Schneider, P.C.
    Charles Schneider, P.C. | Charles J. Schneider
    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 juris 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: 6/15/2012
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
    You can file "pro se", but you may want to buy a book to help guide you through the process.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Olson Law Firm | Edward M Olson
    It is theoretically possible. However I do not recommend it. If you act as your own attorney, you will still be obligated to comply with all the statutes and court rules in everything that you file with the court.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Weber & Phillips, P.A.
    Weber & Phillips, P.A. | John G. Phillips
    While it is possible to file your own case, except in the simplest of circumstances I would not recommend it. Your creditors will have attorneys and you need someone knowledgeable in your corner too.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    Yes you need an attorney to keep yourself out of trouble and maximize you benefit.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A | R. Jason de Groot
    You can download all the forms from your local federal bankruptcy court website. Abe Lincoln said that the man who represents himself in court has a fool for a client. He filed bankruptcy twice. You need an attorney who has extensive experience in bankruptcy. There are petition preparers who will fill out all of the documents, but they cannot give legal advice, and cannot represent you, all they can do is fill in the forms.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    You can go to the court house and get all of the paperwork you need to fill out and prepare the case and file it on your own.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Alvin Lundgren | Alvin Lundgren
    Get and fill out all of the forms. An attorney is not necessary, but you will have to become familiar with and follow all of the federal bankruptcy procedure rules.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    The Smalley Law Firm, LLC | Cary Smalley
    You can file bankruptcy without an attorney. However, I suggest you retain an attorney to ensure that all dischargeable debts are included and discharged and to ensure that you receive all applicable property exemptions, among other things.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    You are not required to have an attorney, but having one can significantly help your case by the careful application of exemptions and knowledge of legal procedure. Often times, it is not as expensive as you might think to have an attorney and they can save you a lot later.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Ursula G. Barrios Law
    Ursula G. Barrios Law | Guillermo Machado
    Better to have a surgeon perform surgery, though I'm sure one could attempt it on themselves if they were so inclined. Same with bankruptcy. It's complicated.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis | Eric Lewis
    In the same way that you can pull your own teeth without a dentist or perform your own surgery without a doctor, you can take a huge risk and file bankruptcy without a lawyer. Many people have lost money and property trying to do things without counsel.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Connaghan Newberry Law Firm
    Connaghan Newberry Law Firm | Tara D. Newberry
    Question: How can I file for bankruptcy by myself? You are not required to use an attorney so long as you are filing as an individual and not as a business. You can go to the court's website to obtain information about filing "pro per". You can also attend the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada's Bankruptcy class which discusses the basic forms and provides free information about bankruptcy. If you are not going to use an attorney, it is highly advisable to attend one of the LACSN classes. Question Detail: Is there really a need for an attorney? Bankruptcy is an extremely complex area of law and there are strict deadlines that must be followed or a case will be dismissed. There are people who file for bankruptcy without an attorney who are able to get a discharge, however, there are many "pro per" filers who have their cases dismissed without obtaining a discharge order because they do not file things timely, correctly or provide the Trustee with required documents. The greatest assistance an attorney yields in a bankruptcy case is in the pre-filing preparation, as well as ensuring that you meet all of the deadlines in order to get a discharge. An attorney will attend the meeting of creditors with you when you are examined under oath by the Trustee and defend you in the case, whereas a bankruptcy petition preparer cannot attend or advocate for you. If certain exemptions are not applied to your assets in the schedules, you could lose property to the bankruptcy estate. The consequences could be severe, so I do think an attorney is advisable for anyone filing bankruptcy and generally the cost of using an attorney pales in comparison to what you stand to lose or having your case dismissed without obtaining a discharge.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Attorney At Law | Harry D. Roth
    We lawyers say that a person who represents himself has a fool for a client. The larger truth is that it really depends. If your bankruptcy is garden variety, with no complications or special circumstances, and you are willing to take the time to get a good book and spend several weekends reading and figuring out what you need to do, and you have a high school education or better, you are probably going to be fine without an attorney. To my mind, the real issue is spending the time vs. spending the money when both are in short supply. It is also the peace of mind you buy by hiring a good bankruptcy lawyer to help you. I can tell you that I do not do my own taxes, even though I could, because it just is not worth my time to learn all the tricks just to do it once a year. With a bankruptcy it is once a lifetime.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    If you feel 100% comfortable with handling all the following, you can file pro se: motion to avoid lien, bad faith objections, lien stripping, filing audits, the means test, stacking exemptions and creative use of the wildcard, stay violations, reaffirmations, 341 meeting, adversary proceedings, etc. Almost 100% of pro se Chapter 13s fail. The vast majority of pro se 7's have problems that would never happen with a lawyer. A slight mistake in bankruptcy can not only cost you a discharge or lose some of your assets, but it can even land you in prison. Only complete fools file pro se. Even non-bnankruptcy lawyers who go bankrupt hire lawyers. That should answer your question.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Bruce Plesser | Bruce Plesser
    You can do it yourself.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Steven Alpers | Steven Alpers
    It depends on you consult the court's website for morer info.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Debt Relief Law Center | Roger J. Bus
    Not easy to do unless you first have a thorough knowledge of bankruptcy law, trustee requirements, and clerk procedures.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    Samwel Cousineau &Shea, PC
    Samwel Cousineau &Shea, PC | Kirsten A. Samwel
    You can file by yourself, but you will need to know the laws that apply regarding filing it yourself as well as how to properly fill out the Petition paperwork. An attorney will know the laws and how to apply them, and will also know how to properly complete your Petition so that it can go forward.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/13/2012
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