Do-It-Yourself Chapter 13 Bankruptcy–Maybe Not

Posted by on Oct 27, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Do-It-Yourself Chapter 13 Bankruptcy–Maybe Not

Most lawyers advise against someone filing their own bankruptcy petition.  About 10-15% of people who file Chapter 7 do so without an attorney and most do it successfully. I don’t have a problem with someone filing their own Chapter 7, but I do get concerned when someone tries to manage their own Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a different situation. There are more reporting requirements and creating a repayment plan that will be accepted by the creditors, the trustee, and the court takes special knowledge of Bankruptcy Code, bankruptcy forms, and local procedures.

I get a call or two every month from someone who has filed a Chapter 13 without an attorney. I usually invite them to come in for a free consultation and I ask them to bring in everything they’ve filed with the court and all correspondence they’ve received from the court and their creditors. I can look up their case on-line to see what’s happened so far. Without fail, I’ll see forms and schedules that have been inaccurately completed or left completely blank. I will look at any objections to the repayment plan that have been filed (there is at least one objection 99% of the time). It’s usually after the objections have been filed that someone will call me looking for help.

Usually, I can help. After I review the petition, plan, and all of the client’s supporting documents to make sure there are no discrepancies with the petition, I’ll enter an appearance as their attorney. From that point, I’ll take control of the case. I will update and amend the schedules and review the plan to address any objections that have been filed and make sure that the minimum allowable payment is provided for.

My job is to guide my clients through the bankruptcy process to make sure they get through it safely. That’s my objective whether they come to me from the beginning or after they’ve tried to manage their own bankruptcy.

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