Milwaukee, WI Bankruptcy Law Blog

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Do I Have To Hire An Attorney To File For Bankruptcy?

Do-it-yourself (DIY) projects are hugely popular right now. Perhaps the biggest indicator of this is the fact that Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social media networks. The site is filled with tips for DIY home repairs, gardening hacks, and lots of recipes and crafts.

The DIY trend has even taken hold in the legal world. Today many people are using online templates to craft basic estate planning documents, and using apps to contest parking tickets. Recently, a lot of potential clients have begun to ask if it is possible to file for bankruptcy without an attorney. The short answer is yes, the courts allow people to file without an attorney, which is known as filing pro se. But just because something is possible, doesn’t mean it should be attempted.

You might have noticed that many of the things featured on Pinterest cannot be realistically replicated by DIYers even when very specific step by step instructions are available. (The proof of this is in the popularity of #PinterestFail memes.) The same thing goes for bankruptcy filings. Getting through the process is not easy if you don’t have legal and financial training.

The court does not “take it easy” on people who file without the help of an attorney. Everyone who files is expected to follow all of the rules (and there are a lot of them in bankruptcy court), and the court system does not allow judges or other court employees to give legal advice to people who have chosen to file without the help of an attorney.

The DIY spirit is a great thing. But it should be tempered by a consideration of the serious consequences that come with attempting projects without proper training or supervision. A messed up batch of cookies or an ugly craft project is not the end of the world, but a ruined financial life that takes years to repair isn’t worth the risk.

As the court system itself points out, an experienced attorney can:

  • Advise you on whether to file a bankruptcy petition.
  • Advise you under which chapter 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.
  • Assist you with most aspects of your bankruptcy case.
Don’t hesitate to schedule a free consultation session with a bankruptcy attorney, even if you don’t think you can afford to hire an attorney to file for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy attorneys are used to working with people of limited financial means. Good attorneys will find a way to help you if at all possible.

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| Phone: 414-436-8428