Filing Bankruptcy By Yourself Can Be a Disaster.

Yes, it is legal and possible to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy by yourself, without hiring an attorney. But we don't recommend it.

A debtor that filed by herself says.."I thought filing bankruptcy by myself would be the cheapest way out. However, now the bankruptcy trustee wants me to hand over all of my checking and savings accounts totaling $5000. Now I no longer have the money to pay him, because I spent it..."

If you think hiring a good bankruptcy lawyer is expensive, try not hiring one; that can be much more expensive. In fact, you may not get a bankruptcy discharge if you file by yourself, and make a mistake like the lady above. Hiring a lawyer can be much less expensive, and the lawyer can make the process go much more smoothly. If fact, very few people can successfully get through a Chapter 13 case without an attorney; it is just too complicated. Don't make a mistake; hire an attorney to help you with any kind of legal proceeding.

Not hiring an attorney can be disastrous. Lawyers hire other lawyers to file bankruptcy for them, when they need to. I have represented several lawyers in bankruptcy over the years. I had a case several years ago where the person filed "pro se" or by himself.

A very intelligent gentleman had filed by himself, and this was even before the 2005 amendments to the Bankruptcy Code, when it was much simpler. But the man had failed to understand, that he owned his small business also, which was a corporation. So the Trustee was going to take all the assets of his corporation. He hired me and we were able to negotiate a settlement with the Trustee, so that the business survived. But it may not have worked out that well, and he could have lost his business. Not only that, but it was much more expensive than if he had just hired an attorney to begin with.

J Thomas Black
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Board Certified, Consumer Bankruptcy Law- Texas Board of Legal Specialization
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