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Should Anyone File for Bankruptcy Alone Using Free Forms?

The simple answer is yes, you can file bankruptcy for free under either Chapter 7 or 13. Free forms are also available from the court. The better is question is should you?

If you file bankruptcy for free, the court will deem your case pro se. In effect, you must act as your own lawyer in a pro se case. When you represent yourself, you must pay the filling fee. In both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, the filing is $275 to $300. The fee is due at the time of filing. Courts waive fees for debtors currently earning less than 150% of the established poverty level in their state of residency. Can you file alone safely and get a good result? Not really.

The Risks of Filing Bankruptcy Without a Lawyer

File Chapter 7
The Temptation to File Chapter 7 with Free Forms Ruins Many Cases

In addition, if you file for bankruptcy without a lawyer, creditors, trustees and the court know immediately that you are not an expert on the law. Free forms can only carry you so far. Trustees allow you but a small extra leeway compared to an average lawyer. Similarly, the court indulges insignificant mistakes in pro se bankruptcy cases to a small degree. Both advantages are inconsequential compared to valuable assistance.

Creditors however see pro se cases as a ripe opportunity for exploitation. Creditors love plucking the low hanging fruit from the tree. You become an easy target when you file bankruptcy for free. Your knowledge of state and federal law is tested almost daily dealing with your creditors, their attorneys, the trustee and the court. You must supply of legally correct responses on demand, daily, dealing with inordinately aggressive competitors.

Luckily, expert help is available for minimal cost. You can receive this help privately in the comfort of your home.

Are You Ready to Handle All the Risk Alone When You File Your Case?

Filing for bankruptcy for free can be the least effect means of maximizing results. But, there are solutions. Trustees apply greater scrutiny to all debtor information, forms and testimony. The official bankruptcy forms are highly technical and rely, in large part, on legal terms of art.

To fill in these forms correctly, knowledge of both the U.S. Bankruptcy Code and cases interpreting federal statutes is essential. Free forms for filing bankruptcy are available from the clerk of the court. Further, in many situations, state laws apply. Unfortunately, lawyers representing creditors frequently take advantage of debtors who do not have an attorney because they are easy prey. The forms for bankruptcy are the least of your worries. The advice of a lawyer, even free or pro bono lawyers, is essential to avoid dismissal.

One of the greatest risks associated with the do it yourself filings is making a mistake on the means test. The means test determines if you are qualified to file Chapter 7. It also determines your monthly payment if filing Chapter 13. The official instructions from the court provide little guidance in this constantly developing area of the law.

A word of caution: do not hire a paralegal (known as a "bankruptcy preparer") to complete your forms. The preparer is not authorized to appear in court without an attorney. You will stand alone before a judge defending objections in contested case hearings. Too often, these services rush through the preparation process, missing obvious golden opportunities to help their clients, and make indefensible sophomore mistakes. In federal court, shoddy work will cost you dearly in time, money and reputation before the court.

Help is Available, Just Ask

We can help. You must be familiar with the means test before you file. Customs and practices determine many deductions when calculating your disposable monthly income. In addition, manipulating rules that determine monthly income is fairly easy.  

In our Bankruptcy Strategies Manual, we explain how, when and why each calculation is important. We include forms, worksheets and detailed instructions. We describe how debtors may take maximum advantage, legally, safely, and quickly. Over even a short time, results can change dramatically if only adopting a few tactics described in the manual. Examples are also included so that you may see, first hand, how qualification for Chapter 7 changes rapidly.

We show you how to time your case for maximum advantage. We explain the real benefits and burdens of Chapter 7 and 13 in layman terms, and point out the pit falls along the way. We show you how to combine Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 for extraordinary benefits.

Even further, feel free to use debt management plans and debt settlement plan before you file to multiple your benefits many times over, and open a new world of opportunity for you. Instructions, examples and worksheets are included.

The Means Test

Bankruptcy Free
Filing Bankruptcy Free, Safely, Is Very Difficult

When filing yourself, you must calculate the means test correctly. Make one mistake could result in dismissal with prejudice against refilling. You must stay off the black list.

Ideally, everyone should retain a highly qualified and experienced attorney. The best attorneys make few mistakes and remain fully liable for all errors. These attorneys move smoothly through the courts. Anticipation and preparation makes all problems vanish.

Even better, finding a good attorney for a reasonable fee is far easier than you may now think. We give you and extensive attorney interview list that includes the right questions to ask, when to ask them, and how to choose the best attorney for an affordable fee.

If you are interested in your means test results, our forms make the calculation easily completed from the privacy of your own home without paying an attorney fee.

The means test only gets you started. Would you prefer getting maximum benefits in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 every step of the way? It is only a matter of spending a little time, asking the right questions, and requiring better answers. We show you how to do it for yourself whether retaining an attorney or representing yourself.

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