In today’s internet-based age of Do It Yourself divorces, incorporations and other legal matters, it’s not surprising that many people consider filing for bankruptcy protection on their own. In fact, some websites on the internet even claim to allow people to file for bankruptcy for just a few hundred dollars. While this might appear to be a good value on the surface, the fact of the matter is that you get what you pay for. Therefore, unless you’re already an experienced bankruptcy professional, you could be setting yourself up for significant troubles down the road – troubles that will come after your bankruptcy protection rights have already been fully exercised.
The following are 4 primary reasons why bankruptcies should always be handled by an attorney who specifically practices in this area of law:
1.) Ever-changing Bankruptcy Laws
Bankruptcy legislation and laws are constantly changing and evolving – and these are not just small changes. Some of them are major and can have a significant impact for everyone involved in a bankruptcy case, including debtors, lenders, attorneys and trustees. Keeping up with these laws isn’t easy and generally requires a full time bankruptcy practice in order to manage changing information and regulations.
Attempting to handle your own bankruptcy case without an up-to-date understanding of recent changes to bankruptcy laws can result in serious legal and financial consequences that could further deteriorate what is already a sensitive situation. While it might seem prudent to save a little money by managing your own case, the end result could be much, much more expensive if you’re not aware of the most current laws.
2.) Tricks of the Trade
Dog trainers, chefs, auto mechanics, doctors and virtually all professions have certain “tricks of the trade” that require immersion in the field to understand and wield successfully. Bankruptcy attorneys are no different and can often cite and establish precedent, uncover special rules and use their influence in the field to create outcomes that, quite frankly, a layperson couldn’t hope to accomplish on their own.
3.) Potential for Costly Mistakes
Bankruptcy cases are complex at a minimum and unmanageable at worst. Mistakes made during a case can have serious implications for years and for some people, for life. For instance, a legitimate mistake such as unaccounted for assets could possibly lead to criminal charges or the dismissal or your case altogether. Other mistakes such as not including all creditors or not providing correct income information could lead to serious consequences.
Even simple mistakes such as filling out a form wrong or submitting it in an incorrect format or with improper timing can lead to lengthy delays in your case and other penalties.
4.) Not Being Taken Seriously
As the old adage goes, “The man who represents himself has a fool for a lawyer.” This is true for all of the reasons outlined above, but ultimately, it’s also true because if you represent yourself in a bankruptcy case it’s likely that you won’t be taken seriously and may find it much more difficult to navigate the waters of bankruptcy court than you had thought. This could come in the form of fewer concessions made, more rigid enforcement of documentation requirements, and even passive hostility from the trustee, judge, or others involved in your case.
Bankruptcy is a solemn concern and one that should not be entered into lightly or without proper counsel. Seeking representation from an experienced bankruptcy attorney is critical in order to ensure that your case stays abreast of the most recent laws, utilizes the most effective tricks of the trade, is filed and managed free from mistakes and is taken seriously by officials. To get this level of assurance and security for your bankruptcy case, call us for an immediate, confidential consultation from a proven Pittsburgh bankruptcy attorney.