Filing for bankruptcy can be filed without the help of a lawyer. Also known as filing pro se, individuals can represent themselves in filing for bankruptcy. However, depending on the complexity of the individual case, it may be best to be represented by a bankruptcy lawyer. Below are some of the reasons why you should consider hiring a bankruptcy lawyer.
- Choosing the right chapter to file under
Bankruptcy cases in the United States are commonly filed under either chapter 7 or chapter 13; each with its own level of complexity, benefits, qualifications and set of rules. One is required to have adequate knowledge of these options in order to make an appropriate choice. Under chapter 7, the liquidation process is usually applied. In this process, a court-appointed bankruptcy trustee will take charge of selling your non-exempt property to pay off as much of your debt as possible. Any proceeds obtained from the sale of your possessions will be used to pay off your creditors but you won’t have to pay off all of the debts. If you don’t have non-exempt assets, your creditors will not be paid. Among the rules for this type of bankruptcy is that not everyone qualifies it.
Chapter 13, also known as re-organization bankruptcy, on the other hand gives you a chance at re-organization yourself financially so that you can pay your debts. It provides protection from creditors’ harassment allowing you some time to make arrangements for paying off your debts. It is suitable for those that have a regular income. A repayment plan is usually developed and agreed upon between you and your creditors, which you must adhere to in order to pay all or most of your debts. In this type of bankruptcy, you don’t have to sell off your assets. Nevertheless, you must pay all your unsecured debts or a set potion determined by your expenses, income and debt type.
An experienced lawyer will explain the options available to you and help you select the chapter that’s best suited for your case.
- Complexities of bankruptcy procedure
Bankruptcy like other court processes is governed by a set of rules. Among them are time limits within which to file the bankruptcy. Other complexities include the paperwork to be presented, determining the exempt assets that you’ll be able to keep. It is also necessary to have knowledge of the bankruptcy laws which have changed over time. A competent bankruptcy lawyer will have up-to-date knowledge about the laws and will be of great assistance in ensuring that the process flows smoothly.
- Less harassment from creditors
With a competent lawyer in your corner, the harassment from your creditors wanting to collect their debt should stop. They are also more likely to negotiate with you and reach a settlement.
- Avoid mistakes and uncertainty
With a good bankruptcy lawyer at your service, you will avoid going into the process blindly. An attorney will inform you of your rights, and the advantages and risks of the legal step you take. He’ll also help you avoid mistakes that can negatively affect your case and have your application dismissed.