When filing for Bankruptcy as an Individual, it is not required, but it is strongly advised that you seek an attorney. While it is a possibility for an individual to file for bankruptcy on their own, it does not mean, in any way, that it is necessarily easier. In fact, to successfully apply for bankruptcy as an individual is extremely difficult.
The Bankruptcy process is a very delicate one, and it is imperative that each step is done correctly. Individuals who file without an attorney are called, “Pro Se” litigants. Pro se legal representation is generally not encouraged by the court, and unless you are very well-versed in the law and have a substantial knowledge in legal matters, filing bankruptcy pro se poses a wide array of difficulties and risks. For example, one runs the risk of accidentally misrepresenting information on their petition, such as forgetting to list an asset. If this occurs, it would be difficult to prove that this was not done knowingly. If there is any discrepancy, it may be treated as a misrepresentation, and thus yields the possibility of being susceptible to criminal persecution, if one is not careful. Bankruptcy carries legal and long-term financial consequences, all of which should be fully comprehended and anticipated.
You may have heard the term, “Petition Preparer.” The sole purpose of a petition preparer is to type information on bankruptcy forms. Do not attempt to solicit legal advice from petition preparers, and also be aware that it is unlawful for petition preparers to give legal advice. This is the job of the attorney. Therefore, be wary of petition preparers who may not comply with the legal requirements. Petition preparers must also sign their name on any document(s) that they prepare. Read the post about Petition Preparers to learn more.
On the subject of foreclosure, there are number of ways to avoid both foreclosure and bankruptcy. One such option is a Loan Modification. However, going about the process as an individual poses its own risks. There is an abundance of fraudulent schemes designed to trick the homeowner into signing over the rights of their property to a third party, which may end up with disastrous results. For the sake of safety, it is highly recommended that you seek competent legal counsel prior to taking your first steps towards saving your home.
The Law Offices of Anderson and Ferrin are experienced in Bankruptcy Law and Loan Modifications,