One questions that debtors who are considering filing for bankruptcy have is whether they can file for bankruptcy without the help of a bankruptcy attorney. The answer to this question is yes, a debtor can file bankruptcy without the help of an attorney, however it is not advisable if you want your bankruptcy case to go smoothly without any problems. Corporations and partnerships must have a lawyer to file a bankruptcy case as these cases can be more complicated and should be field by a well seasoned lawyer.
It is very important that a bankruptcy case be filed and filed correctly. The bankruptcy laws are very technical, and a misstep may affect a debtor’s rights. For example, a debtor whose case is dismissed for failure to file a required document, such as a financial management course certificate, may lose the right to file another case or lose protections in a later case, including the benefit of the bankruptcy automatic stay which makes it so that you will not be harassed by your creditors after your case has been filed.
Debtors must list all property and debts in their bankruptcy schedules. If a debt is not listed, it is possible the debt will not be discharged if your case is an asset case. An asset case means that you have assets that are worth more than there are available exemptions, while a no asset case means the bankruptcy trustee has not taken any of your assets to benefit your creditors. A bankruptcy judge can also deny the discharge of all debts if a debtor does something dishonest in connection with the bankruptcy case, such as destroying or hiding property, falsifying records, or lying. Individual bankruptcy cases are randomly audited to determine the accuracy, truthfulness, and completeness of the information that the debtor is required to provide. You will also be required to attend court one time in association with your bankruptcy filing. This court date is called the meeting of creditors and it allows a bankruptcy trustee to ask you questions while you are under oath. If you lie about anything, you risk having your case dismissed and not receiving a discharge of your debts so it is always best to tell the truth.
If you have additional questions about whether you should hire a bankruptcy lawyer, please contact Symmes Law Group at 206-682-7975 to set up your free consultation.