SHOULD I USE AN ATTORNEY, PARALEGAL, OR REPRESENT MYSELF?
Here are the reasons why you should only use a bankruptcy attorney and what can happen if you don’t…
Although Corporations and Partnerships must have an attorney represent them, there is no legal requirement that an individual hire an attorney to represent them in a bankruptcy case. There’s also no requirement that you see a dentist to pull a bad tooth or an electrician to rewire your house but truthfully, unless you’re skilled in such things it almost never makes sense to attempt it yourself.
Bankruptcy laws are tricky enough for attorneys to navigate. Representing yourself is truly just asking for trouble–and the trouble can be enormous. Failure to comply with the intricate network of procedural rules and statutes, as well as local rules of the various bankruptcy courts, can result in denial of your discharge, loss of assets, and additional fees and charges being levied against you.
PARALEGALS CAN’T GIVE LEGAL ADVICE
The necessary planning and advice one gets from an attorney prior to filing a case cannot be given by a paralegal or petition preparing service. In fact, because they are not attorneys they are strictly prohibited from giving any such legal advice.
SUCCESS IN REPRESENTING YOURSELF IS NOT LIKELY
I’ve worked with clients who’ve tried the do-it-yourself bankruptcy route and ended up hiring me to fix the terrible consequences of going it alone. Inevitably, the cost to the client was far greater than it would have been to have me represent them in the first place. The emotional cost of trying this without excellent legal assistance can be devastating. It’s a horrible thing to see people committing “legal suicide” by representing themselves or using non-attorneys to prepare the documents that will affect their financial future.
We are aware that people who need to file bankruptcy generally don’t have a lot of spare cash floating around. But this is simply not the time to cut corners. You could end up worse off than you are now if your bankruptcy case is not handled properly.
Brea Buettner-Stanchfield–Your Minneapolis Bankruptcy Attorney– Passionate About Protecting & Fighting For The Rights of Consumers.