Why use a bankruptcy attorney.
Once you have decided that you need to file for bankruptcy protection, you need to decide how you are going to do this. The bankruptcy law allows you to prepare and file the petition on your own, use a petition preparer or hire an attorney. There are important considerations in deciding which to use. The preparation of the petition papers is extremely important and good advice throughout the process is necessary in order to have a successful bankruptcy.
- You know better than anyone else whether you would be able to prepare the papers and once you review the petition papers you should quickly realize that you are over your head;
- Petition preparers can fill in the blanks, but they are not attorneys and therefore can not give you advice. They also can not represent you at the meeting with the Trustee or in any Court proceedings;
- Attorneys are only as good as their experience and training so be sure he/she has done this before;
Let’s consider some of the issues that could arise if the petition papers are not complete and accurate:
- If assets are not listed and exemptions not claimed, you could lose assets;
- If debts are not listed you could obtain a discharge, but not on the unlisted debts;
- If you incurred a debt within 90 days of filing, you could have an adversary proceeding filed against you in the bankruptcy Court;
- If you paid any third party creditor more than $600.00 in the 90 days before filing, or insider (family member) within 1 year, the Trustee/Court could require turnover of the funds (from you or the party paid) as a preferential payment;
- If you transferred an asset to anyone within 4 years of filing a bankruptcy, the Trustee/Court could require turnover of the asset or repayment of value (from you or the party the item was transferred to;
- If the Trustee/Court requires any document that is either not provided or is determined to be fraudulent, your discharge could be denied or reversed; and
- If your income/expenses (budget) are inaccurate, you could be forced into a Chapter 13 or discharge denied;You should always provide accurate/true information in the preparation of the petition papers. Keep in mind that the US Department of Justice and FBI investigate bankruptcy fraud. This is serious business so do not mislead the attorney.
Ronald R. Stanley, Esq. has assisted individuals file Chapter 7 and 13 Bankruptcy for over 40 years. He is a member of the bar in Ohio (1974), Northern Ohio Federal District Court (1974) and 6th Circuit Federal Appeals Court (1977). 3637 Medina Road #5 in Medina, Ohio 44256, 330-952-1415 Phone, [email protected] email, rstanleylaw.com website