If you’re struggling to pay off your debt, you’re probably considering filing for bankruptcy. Of course, there are some advantages and disadvantages to this process, and you might want to consider some other alternatives beforehand. Still, if you’re too overwhelmed with debt, it might be the best way to get your life back on track.
So, what’s bankruptcy all about? Should you do it yourself or hire an attorney to help you? In this short guide, we’ll discuss this topic in detail and answer all of these questions, so keep on reading!
What type of bankruptcy should I file?
The first step to filing bankruptcy is determining whether you’d like to file for chapter 7, 13, or 11. Naturally, it all depends on your specific circumstances. Whatever you do, make sure you do your research before you make your final decision. Even though you’re not required to get a lawyer to file for bankruptcy, if you’re unsure of what type fits your situation the best, seeking professional legal assistance might be the best possible option.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is also called liquidation bankruptcy. Your property is sold and used to repay your debts, leaving you only with your essential assets. On the other hand, with chapter 13 and 11, you may be able to save some of your property by following the repayment plan issued by the court.
Should I file for bankruptcy without a lawyer?
Well, again, it all depends on your situation. The general rule of thumb is to never go into chapter 13 bankruptcy alone since it can get overwhelmingly complicated. Of course, the simpler your case is, the easier it will be for you to get through the process without professional assistance.
All in all, hiring a lawyer is almost always a better choice and, contrary to popular belief, it could actually save you some money. Bankruptcy can be complicated, but dealing with the effects it leaves on your life can be even tougher. A specialized attorney will be able to give you useful advice so you go through your bankruptcy as easy as possible.
Still, if your situation is extremely simple, and you wish to file for bankruptcy without hiring an attorney, you do have that choice. Hiring a lawyer is not obligatory for bankruptcy cases. The important thing is to find the best possible solution for your circumstances, so make sure to do your research before deciding to file a bankruptcy without consulting with a lawyer.
If you decide to hire a specialized debt relief attorney, such as those at attorneydebtfighters.com, they may offer you some better alternatives to bankruptcy. One of those is debt consolidation. It’s usually reserved for people with higher incomes and those who would lose way too many assets if they went bankrupt. It works similarly to chapter 13, except you’ll be able to save your credit score. You’ll need to take a new loan in order to repay your debts, so make sure you have enough funding to be able to withstand it financially. Your attorney can help you make the best choice for you, so if you’re able to afford it, get some professional advice.
All in all, bankruptcy might not be the best option for everyone, so make sure you analyze your situation before making the final call.
What’s the process if I choose to go pro se?
As previously said, you can choose to represent yourself while you’re filing bankruptcy. So, what do you need to know to do this successfully? Well, first of all, be prepared to fill a lot of paperwork! If you choose to file for chapter 7, you’ll need to take the means test too. Make sure to collect all the necessary information you need, and always double-check everything.
Find the necessary information at official government websites and use all of your rights. The more you know the better the outcome will be. So, be prepared to do a lot of research and keep in mind that the process can be lengthy sometimes.
You’ll also have a court hearing, and you’ll have to take some education courses. Of course, depending on your case, this can be either extremely simple or tiringly complex. Hiring an attorney is always a safe bet, and sometimes, it’s even a much more cost-effective option than going pro se.
Whatever you do, make sure to consider every possible solution until you find the one that best fits your needs.
Let’s say you’ve successfully filed for bankruptcy…So, what now? When will you be able to enjoy the debt free life you’ve been dreaming about? Well, unfortunately, filing for bankruptcy is only the first step.
First, you should know that there are some types of debt that can’t be forgiven. Bankruptcy is powerless against your student loans, alimony, child support, and your debt to the government (taxes, fines, penalties). So, while bankruptcy can help you get rid of a lot of your debt, if you have some of this unforgivable debt, don’t expect to come out as debt-free from the process.
Besides the potential loss of property we’ve mentioned before, bankruptcy leads to a number of other negative consequences. Getting a loan, opening a new credit card, and mortgage all become extremely difficult. Your credit score will suffer for almost a decade, so try to seek better alternatives before deciding to declare bankruptcy.
Still, if there’s no other alternative, make sure to start rebuilding your credit score as soon as possible.
The bottom line
You can file bankruptcy without an attorney, but it might not be the best idea. Even though you’re not legally required to have a lawyer for your bankruptcy case, a legal professional can help you find the best possible solution, saving you a lot of money in the long run.
Of course, if your case is very simple, representing yourself in court should work out just fine. Just make sure you’re well-informed and don’t rush into anything without careful consideration.
All in all, being in debt is nothing to be ashamed of. It can happen to everyone, especially in these unpredictable times. Bankruptcy can help you start anew, but it has to be done right! Therefore, whatever you choose to do, make sure to prepare properly before starting the process
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