Since the growth of the Internet, the do-it-yourself industry has been growing at an unbelievable rate. This has even extended into the legal realm including filing for bankruptcy. It is true, that it is pretty hard for someone to attempt to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy without a bankruptcy attorney, but it is still possible to file Chapter 7. Now, there are many websites online offering document preparation services for filing bankruptcy. The problem with these web services is they cannot offer any legal advice. Any time a document preparer or paralegal chooses a selection like a bankruptcy exemption when filling out the bankruptcy petition, the court looks at it as practicing law. It’s illegal for a paralegal or document preparer to practice law or offer any kind of legal advice regarding filing bankruptcy. So this leaves the debtor in a quandary. Most people that use these websites don’t have the knowledge or experience to fill out a means test or select bankruptcy exemptions. They think that by hiring this inexpensive service to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, all questions will be answered and the bankruptcy petition will be complete. Maybe the bankruptcy petition will be completed, but it doesn’t mean that it will be correct. Because of the ever changing bankruptcy laws, there are many landmines that might arise. Many debtors don’t know anything is wrong until they attend the 341 meeting or meeting of creditors and meet the bankruptcy trustee. At this time, they will get an earful from the trustee along with a bunch of questions of who prepared the bankruptcy petition.
That’s why when filing bankruptcy, a bankruptcy attorney is the only way to go. First of all, a bankruptcy attorney in the debtor’s area has filed many cases in the district where they work. Because of this, the bankruptcy attorney will know what’s expected of the bankruptcy trustee and court. Having this extra knowledge will give the debtor or a leg up on what to expect when attending the 341 meeting. As long as the individual is totally honest with a bankruptcy attorney, there should be no surprises and the meeting should take a total of about 10 minutes. With the bankruptcy petition prepared properly, there should be no changes necessary unless the debtor needs to amend the petition to add creditors. Now all the individual filing for bankruptcy needs to do is wait for their bankruptcy discharge to come in the mail. It seems like it’s a no-brainer, on whether to go it alone or hire a bankruptcy attorney. Considering the cost of a bankruptcy attorney versus the amount of debt wiped out in the bankruptcy discharge, it is very minimal.