Is a Do-It-Yourself Bankruptcy For Me?
You hear DIY (Do It Yourself) everywhere. Whether it’s home repairs, auto repairs and yes, even legal work, DIY deceptively seems like the better option when you’re strapped for cash. It’s immense popularity is undeniable and I’m a huge fan of DIY on simple stuff. It’s especially tempting for legal processes that have forms and it seems like all you have to do is fill them out! After all, hiring an attorney can sometimes be expensive.
But, do you know what is even more expensive then hiring a bankruptcy attorney? Losing your car or home in a bankruptcy because, although you figured out how to fill out the forms, you didn’t know what you didn’t know about bankruptcy law.Can’t I Just Fill Out the Bankruptcy Forms?
The bankruptcy forms appear to be pretty straightforward and there are even bankruptcy preparers that will help you fill them out for a few hundred bucks. But bankruptcy preparers are not attorneys and they cannot give you legal advice. They don’t appear in court regularly to know the local practices and what the local bankruptcy trustees tend to look for. I’ve seen clients that filed a FIY bankruptcy lose their cars time after time. There is a common misconception that they can’t take your car in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy because you need it to go to work. That is simply not true and those unfortunate DIY filers found out the hard way that the “inexpensive route sometimes ends up being very expensive.”
There are so many different things to consider when filing bankruptcy. Is my car protected? Should I wait to file until my tax refund has been spent? How can I spend my tax refund so that I don’t have to pay it back to the bankruptcy trustee? Do I include my spouse’s income? Can I deduct their expenses from their income? Should I file a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy if I want to keep my house and am behind in payments? I have IRS debt – can I get rid of it in either bankruptcy? What’s the criteria for getting rid of IRS debt? Get the point? It’s a lot more than just filling out forms and you can lose assets or not get the full benefit of a bankruptcy if you don’t hire a Fort Lauderdale bankruptcy attorney.My Bankruptcy Google Search Is Not Enough?
But there is so much information on the web! And yes, while doing a google search is easy enough, I’ve seen what happens when people think that their google search is equal (or better) than a law degree and experience in the bankruptcy arena. Even if you are really good in using Boolean search terms, etc, you still don’t know what you don’t know so you may never search for it.
Bankruptcy attorneys, on the other hand, know the local bankruptcy trustees and their quirks. They know what the local judges have already ruled about certain issues. They know how to maximize the benefit that you get from your bankruptcy filing. I have seen people DIY a Chapter 7 bankruptcy with thousands (even hundreds of thousands) in IRS debt and liens when filing a Chapter 13 would have helped them get rid of that debt without interest and penalties. After three years, some IRS debt gets completely eliminated!
So while I am totally on board with DIY plumbing or some other youtube-friendly hands on project, and I also fully support people learning how to do fairly simple legal things like changing their name or sealing a criminal record, in a Fort Lauderdale bankruptcy, it’s better to hire an attorney. In the long run, you are better off spending a little bit up front to get rid of a lot of debt then to lose assets that are hard to replace after you file bankruptcy.Can I Afford A Bankruptcy Law Attorney in Weston?
We know that the cost of bankruptcy legal fees are a concern when you are facing financial difficulties. For that reason, we offer zero-down bankruptcy payment plans where you can pay the legal fees after we file your case and are able to breathe again. We have a payment plan that fits everyone’s budget. So before you file a DIY bankruptcy petition or use a bankruptcy petition preparer to fill out the forms, schedule a free bankruptcy consultation in our Cooper City office. We are easy to get to from every major city in Broward County such as Weston, Pembroke Pines, Davie, Plantation, Miramar, Hollywood and Plantation. If you’re a little further North in Coral Springs, Tamarac, Lauderdale lakes, Oakland Park or Pompano Beach – give us a call. We may be a little further south but we make bankruptcy affordable for everyone by offering payment plans either before you file or pay bankruptcy attorney fees after you file.