Do I Need an Attorney to File for Bankruptcy?

The United States Courts give the following admonition regarding filing bankruptcy without an attorney: “Individuals can file bankruptcy without an attorney, which is called filing pro se. However, seeking the advice of a qualified attorney is strongly recommended because bankruptcy has long-term financial and legal outcomes.”

Further the United States Courts explain that filing personal bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 takes careful preparation and understanding of legal issues. Misunderstandings of the law or making mistakes in the process can affect your rights. Court employees and bankruptcy judges are prohibited by law from offering legal advice. Pro se litigants are expected to follow the rules and procedures in federal courts and should be familiar with the United States Bankruptcy Code, the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, and the local rules in which the case is filed.

Although it is possible to file on your own case, complex laws and rules make filing for bankruptcy without an attorney difficult.

The following is a list of ways an attorney can help you with filing for bankruptcy:

  • Advise you on whether you should file a bankruptcy petition.
  • Advise you about which type of bankruptcy to file.
  • Advise you on whether your debts can be discharged.
  • Advise you on whether or not you will be able to keep your home, car, or other property after you file.
  • Advise you of the tax consequences of filing.
  • Advise you on whether you should continue to pay creditors.
  • Explain bankruptcy law and procedures to you.
  • Help you complete and file forms.
  • Preserve your assets by finding every allowable exemption
  • Be a powerful litigator and negotiator for you

If you are experiencing financial hardship and searching for a way to get out of debt, speak to an experienced bankruptcy attorney who can advise you and walk you through each step of the legal process.