What is a bankruptcy petition preparer? 4 Answers as of October 13, 2010

What is a bankruptcy petition preparer? Can they prepare my documents and file the bankruptcy for me for cheaper than a lawyer?

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Law Offices of Michael J. Berger
Law Offices of Michael J. Berger | Michael J. Berger
A bankruptcy petition preparer is a person who assists you in filling out bankruptcy forms, but is not legally able to give you advice.

Using a bankruptcy petition preparer instead of a qualified bankruptcy attorney is, in my opinion, a BAD IDEA.

Here is what a California Bankruptcy Court itself says about whether or not you need to use a bankruptcy attorney to assist you:

Are all Debtors and Creditors Required to Have an Attorney?

Business Debtor - A corporation, partnership, or unincorporated association may not file a bankruptcy petition or other court documents, or appear in court, without an attorney. See Local Bankruptcy Rule 2090-1(g)(1).

Individual Debtor or Creditor - An individual debtor or creditor is not required to have an attorney in order to file a bankruptcy petition, file other documents, or represent themselves at court hearings. This is true regardless of a chapter 7, chapter 11, or chapter 13 bankruptcy case. However, it is difficult for an individual to be aware of and protect all rights without the assistance of a competent bankruptcy attorney.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/13/2010
The Law Office of Mark J. Markus
The Law Office of Mark J. Markus | Mark Markus
Yes they can, but they are strictly prohibited from giving any legal advice. That means you are responsible for understanding applicable exemption laws, choosing the correct ones to protect your assets, etc. There is a myriad of things that a bankruptcy petition preparer cannot and will not inform you of that could cause problems in your case. It can cost you several thousand dollars to fix things if they are not done properly at the beginning, if it is possible to fix it at all. You need to carefully weigh the cost savings of having a petition preparer do your paperwork with the cost of a competent bankruptcy attorney.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/11/2010
Law Office of Larry Webb
Law Office of Larry Webb | Larry Webb
A bankruptcy preparer is a person who types the form for you. You do not need printed forms, you can obtain the forms from the court and fill the forms in by hand.

There is no reasonable comparison, cost or otherwise, between a petition preparer and an attorney.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/10/2010
Diefer Law Group, P.C.
Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
Yes, they can prepare your bankruptcy documents.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/8/2010
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