Do I have to have an attorney to file for bankruptcy?
Individuals are allowed to file their own bankruptcy. There are many books and websites that provide the forms and even give advice on how to fill them out. Many sites advertise they will complete the paperwork for the low fee of $99.
There are many options to avoid using an attorney, including using a bankruptcy petition preparer. All of these options place the burden on you to know the law. If you lose your car or bank account due to improperly claimed exemptions that is on you. Worse yet, incorrect information risks your discharge or criminal prosecution. If you have decided to learn the law and file your own bankruptcy, realize most bankruptcy attorneys offer a free consultation. You should utilize this option to identify any potential pitfalls.
There is no substitute for speaking with someone who knows the local bankruptcy Judges and trustees where you live. The bankruptcy creditor meeting is an intimidating place to be without legal representation like the other 90% of filers. Consider attending a meeting before filling to see how the process works or to identify attorneys who are able to navigate their clients in and out without incident. Usually, fewer questions from the bankruptcy trustee, means the attorney was pro-active in providing information to the trustee. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you make an informed choice. The Internet is a valuable resource. Learn the law and ask questions.