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5 Reasons You Should Avoid Handling Your Own Bankruptcy

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Thanks to the turbulent economy, more people than ever are considering bankruptcy to help get some breathing room and begin paring back on debts. Some are tempted to file their own bankruptcy without a lawyer’s help. They’ll look for some forms online and then plug in the requested information before heading off to the courthouse to file. Unfortunately, there are serious risks with tackling your own bankruptcy. Instead, an experiencedLos Angeles bankruptcy lawyer is a terrific investment to make. Below, we highlight 5 reasons you should consider calling Resolve Law Firm to talk with our team.

  1. You Are Less Likely to Receive a Discharge

The goal of filing for bankruptcy is to discharge certain debts. If you file and end up without a discharge, then you have wasted time and money. Even worse, the debts are still hanging around your neck.

There are so many things that can go wrong:

  • Filing in the wrong court
  • Leaving out important information
  • Filing for Chapter 7 when your income is too high
  • Forgetting to sign the paperwork
  • Missing the Meeting of Creditors

If you make some mistake, then your case will end up dismissed, and you might have to wait before filing again.

A study from a district court in California revealed that debtors with a lawyer were much more likely to receive a discharge of their debts. In 2018, 94% of those who filed for Chapter 7 with an attorney received a discharge, while only 64% of those without a lawyer were successful. A lawyer was even more helpful with a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Fewer than 3% of filers had a repayment plan confirmed when they were unrepresented, whereas 69% of those with a lawyer achieved success.

These numbers are startling. You have about a 50% better chance of discharging debt in a Chapter 7 if you hire an attorney. And anyone interested in filing for Chapter 13 protection should make sure to find an experienced bankruptcy attorney to represent them.

  1. You Might File the Wrong Bankruptcy

Lawyers provide many services. Perhaps none is more important than helping you decide which bankruptcy to file, if at all. Consumers have several options, with Chapter 7 and 13 being the most common.

They are not the same. Chapter 13 takes several years to complete, with debtors making timely monthly payments. By contrast, you can complete Chapter 7 in a manner of 4-5 months.

If you file a Chapter 7, you might lose property which isn’t exempt. Or you might choose the wrong set of exemptions.

These mistakes have consequences:

  • You lose assets, including possibly your house or car
  • You end up discharging fewer debts
  • Your bankruptcy takes too long, because you filed Chapter 13 when you needed a Chapter 7
  • Your financial stress doesn’t ease

Consult an experienced Los Angeles bankruptcy lawyer at Resolve Law Firm. Our objective is to help you choose the best option and then fill out the paperwork for you.

  1. You Could Commit Bankruptcy Fraud

Anyone filing for bankruptcy must attest that the information contained in their paperwork is correct. Any inaccuracies or omissions can definitely delay a bankruptcy. These errors might also qualify as fraud, which is a federal offense.

Some mistakes include:

  • Concealing assets so the trustee cannot liquidate them
  • Reporting false or intentionally misleading information
  • Filing multiple bankruptcies in different jurisdictions
  • Bankruptcy fraud is a serious crime, with punishments ranging up to 5 years in federal prison.

Not every mistake is fraud, and we don’t want to scare you. To be convicted, you must have knowingly and fraudulently made a misrepresentation to the court. An honest mistake will not land you in prison.

Still, there’s no reason to make any errors if you can help it. And one reason to hire a lawyer is to ensure your petition and related forms are complete and accurate.

  1. You Need a Comprehensive Debt Strategy

Bankruptcy is a great way to get rid of certain debts. However, bankruptcy can’t eliminate all debts, and many consumers remain heavily indebted even after successfully completing Chapter 7 or 13.

Other non-dischargeable debts include:

  • Home mortgage
  • Car loan
  • Family law obligations
  • Student loans

Consumers need a comprehensive game plan for tackling all debt—including debts which survive bankruptcy. For example, you might try to modify your home mortgage, or you could try to change the terms of your student loans. You should meet with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer to develop a comprehensive plan for dealing with all debts.

  1. An Attorney is Affordable

You are struggling financially—we get that. There’s a reason why you are considering bankruptcy. Still, you should know that a lawyer is a worthwhile expense. Hundreds of financially stressed clients have used our firm for help with bankruptcy.

If you file Chapter 13, you can include the cost of your lawyer in your payment plan. That means you’ll pay some each month to your attorney, eventually paying off the amount you owe. With a Chapter 7, you might need to save up some money ahead of time, but that’s not impossible for many.

Call our firm. We can discuss how we charge for services. We believe in transparent pricing which puts the client in charge. We will never spring a surprise fee on you, and we use flexible payment plans which make our services affordable to anyone in Los Angeles.

Schedule a Consultation with a Los Angeles Bankruptcy Lawyer

Are you in financial distress? Do you lie awake worrying about how you will pay your debts? If so, you should meet with an experienced bankruptcy law firm in your community.

Resolve Law Firm has helped countless debtors unshackle themselves from their debts. We rely on deep experience in federal bankruptcy law to help our clients choose the right bankruptcy solution for their needs. We can then shepherd your case through the court system, giving you the best chance of obtaining financial freedom.

To learn more, please contact us to schedule a free, 30-minute consultation with our office.

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