Why does federal law tell me I can represent myself in bankruptcy ?

Posted on June 18, 2013. Filed under: Consumer Alerts, Consumer Bankruptcy Attorney, The Practice of Law | Tags: |

Under US bankruptcy law, the following notice is required to be given to folks that we meet with to discuss bankruptcy. You will notice that the law reminds you that you can represent yourself in bankruptcy court. Abraham Lincoln had it right – “He who represents himself has a fool for a client”. In all matters in bankruptcy court, big and small, we always recommend an attorney be hired. Is it because we want to be paid ? No. Is it because we want folks to be protected. A resounding Yes ! Consult with an attorney of your choosing today if you are considering bankruptcy. Remember, bankruptcy is in a court of law and there are individuals and creditors whose interest is adverse to yours. You need someone on your side looking out for your interests !

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT BANKRUPTCY
ASSISTANCE SERVICES FROM AN ATTORNEY OR
BANKRUPTCY PETITION PREPARER

• If you decide to seek bankruptcy relief, you should be advised that you can represent yourself in all matters connected with the bankruptcy.

• If you decide to seek bankruptcy relief, you should be advised that you can hire an attorney to represent you.

• If you decide to seek bankruptcy relief, you should be advised that in some areas you may hire a bankruptcy petition preparer who is not an attorney.

THE LAW REQUIRES AN ATTORNEY TO GIVE YOU A WRITTEN CONTRACT SPECIFYING WHAT THE ATTORNEY WILL DO FOR YOU AND HOW MUCH IT WILL COST. ASK TO SEE THIS CONTRACT BEFORE YOU HIRE AN ATTORNEY.

Although bankruptcy cases can be complex, many of the procedures and cases are routine. Before filing a bankruptcy case, you or your attorney should analyze your eligibility for different forms of debt relief available under the Bankruptcy Code and which form of relief is most beneficial to you. Be sure you understand the relief you can obtain and its limitations.

To file a bankruptcy case, documents called a Petition, Schedules, and Statement of Financial Affairs, as well as in some cases a Statement of Intention need to be prepared correctly and filed with the bankruptcy court. You will have to pay a filing fee to the bankruptcy court.

Once your case is filed, you will have to attend a first meeting of creditors where you will be questioned under oath by a court official called a “trustee”. At this meeting you may also be questioned by your creditors.

If you choose to file a Chapter 7 case, you may be asked to reaffirm a debt. You may want help deciding whether to do so. A creditor is not permitted to coerce you into reaffirming debts.

If you choose to file a Chapter 13 case in which you repay your creditors what you can afford over a 3 to 5 year period, you may also want help with preparing your Chapter 13 plan and with the confirmation hearing on your plan which will be before a Federal Bankruptcy Judge.

If you select another type of relief under the Bankruptcy Code other than chapter 7 or chapter 13, you will want to find out what should be done from someone familiar with that type of relief.

Your bankruptcy case may also involve litigation. You are generally permitted to represent yourself in litigation in bankruptcy court. BE AWARE – Only an attorney can give you legal advice and can represent you in court.

John Rogers, Kentucky Bankruptcy Attorney

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