If you are considering filing for bankruptcy yourself, you may find it tempting to download the forms and submit them yourself without ever having to involve a lawyer. The problem with filing for bankruptcy by yourself without legal counsel is that you can produce many errors or you may file for the wrong type of bankruptcy which will threaten your ability to wipe out your debts or riskier assets.
Hiring a bankruptcy attorney can help you to avoid common mistakes and make sure that you can discharge your debts in the best way possible for your unique situation. Here are some of the top three mistakes that people make when filing for bankruptcy themselves.
Choosing the Wrong Type of Bankruptcy
The two most common types of bankruptcy are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Choosing the wrong one for your financial situation could put your future at risk.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows you to quickly wipe out all qualifying debts in just a few months. It takes care of unsecured debts like medical debt, personal loans and credit cards. If you owe alimony or child support, as well as student loans these items may not qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy you will also be responsible for selling non-exempt property.
Under Chapter 13 bankruptcy you will have a payment plan established for 3 to 5 years but you won’t have to lose any property to erase your debts.
Failure to Report Assets
When filing for bankruptcy you’ll need to disclose all of your assets as well as all of your debts. It can be easy to forget about an extra bank account holding a few hundred dollars or a vehicle that you have a title on for a family member. You need to report every asset that you technically own. A judge can dismiss a bankruptcy action and you may be charged with bankruptcy fraud for a failure to report these assets.
Skipping 341 Meetings
Going to 341 meetings is essential as you will have to speak to a trustee who will oversee your bankruptcy and ask you questions about your debts, finances and the actions that led up to your bankruptcy. This is when you can establish a plan for your future bankruptcy and determine the amount of debt that can be discharged. Even if this meeting appears to be at an inconvenient time, it’s not something you can afford to miss.
Working with an attorney can often be advantageous for your bankruptcy filing. An attorney can serve as your advocate during a 341 meeting, they can help you with any applicable paperwork and they can help you to choose the ideal type of bankruptcy that suits your financial situation.
If you are in need of assistance in filing for bankruptcy contact us today for more information.
This post was written by Trey Wright, one of the best Bankruptcy Lawyers in Tallahassee Florida. Trey is one of the founding partners of Bruner Wright, P.A. Attorneys at Law, which specializes in areas related to bankruptcy law, estate planning, and business litigation.
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