Filing Bankruptcy for FREE – Does DIY Legal Work Make Sense
Filing Bankruptcy for FREE – Well sort of?
Filing a bankruptcy petition is difficult. You hire an attorney to streamline the process and pay a reasonable fee for their services. This is by far the simplest way for the Debtor to relieve him/herself from their debts. But, it is not the only way. The bankruptcy code allows Debtors to complete the process on their own.
To do so, Debtors would be required to complete their petition which is about 60 pages. They would also need to file, serve and perform their Statement of Intentions, complete and submit their Credit Counselling Certification, complete their 1015 Statement, provide all the 341 documents to the Trustee, and so on.
Can it be done? Absolutely. Most bankruptcy attorneys are quite adept at doing so. Can it be done by a lay person? Well, it depends on the person, but the VAST majority of persons are unprepared for such an undertaking.
I have seen pro se Debtors complete their bankruptcy filing and receive a discharge. Most do not. Even worse, a pro se Debtor puts at substantial risk, assets that an attorney could help them protect with proper planning. I have been in 341 hearings with pro se Debtors where they have lost vast sums of their assets, and they don’t even know it while the hearing is proceeding.
We do a fair amount of work correcting or refiling bankruptcy petitions that were started off as pro se, but the pro se debtor has missed something. Just remember, once a Chapter 7 is filed, it is filed and cannot be dismissed just because the debtor no longer wishes to proceed.
A lot of attorneys also offer lower cost options for qualified Debtors. We do so, and so do others. For qualified debtors we can get your bankruptcy petition filed for just the filing fee.
You can do your own dental work, your own surgery, and your own bankruptcy. I, however, would not recommend it.