Can I file bankruptcy without an attorney?

The short answer is you can, but the better question is should you and if you do what risks do you run by filing bankruptcy without an attorney?

Lets begin with acknowledging a fact: a person may act as their own attorney in any case filed with a court, including the Federal Bankruptcy Court.  At Kinkade & Associates we understand the reality that it can be challenging to raise the money necessary to pay an experienced bankruptcy attorney to analyze your circumstances, advise you of your options for debt relief, prepare and file the appropriate bankruptcy case and manage that case to a successful conclusion.       So, having recognized the fact that you may act as your own attorney and file a bankruptcy without an attorney and that it can be tempting to do so to save the expense of hiring an attorney to advise and represent you, the question is, “should you?”  For reasons I will explain below the answer is a very big “NO!”

Without question, and without exception, considering bankruptcy is a serious undertaking.  The decision to file bankruptcy, and if so the decision regarding the type of bankruptcy that will meet your needs and circumstances, can have serious long term effects on your financial future.  Bankruptcy is a complicated area of law.  For that reason there are experienced competent attorneys who do not practice bankruptcy law.  This is not just because many lawyers prefer to concentrate on others areas of the law.  Instead, even experienced attorneys recognize the complexity of bankruptcy law and what is at stake for a family considering bankruptcy relief.   Likewise, the average person cannot possibly know enough about bankruptcy law to make decisions about their best options in bankruptcy and thereafter properly and correctly prepare the paperwork the bankruptcy court requires.  The average person cannot know what is necessary to protect their assets and their financial future.  The bankruptcy code, essentially the law or rule book governing filing bankruptcy, is hundreds and hundreds of pages.  Certainly not every page applies to every person but how will you know which applies to you?   How will you know what steps you must take or how the paperwork must be prepared to protect your assets?  How will you know what you must do after you file bankruptcy to keep and protect your home, your car and/or your personal possessions?  

Lets put it another way, if you wake up one morning with a nasty tooth ache would you go out to your garage, grab a pair of pliers and pull your own tooth or would you call your dentist?   Most people call their dentist for obvious reasons.  You want and need to hire a professional to make sure you are taken care of and that your problem is solved.   Although not as obvious, decisions about bankruptcy and filing bankruptcy without the advice and assistance of an experienced bankruptcy attorney can potentially endanger your possessions, your property and your financial future.  Like pulling your own tooth, filing a bankruptcy without an attorney can cause some serious pain.        

It is certainly tempting to try and save the money you would spend on an experienced bankruptcy attorney by filing a bankruptcy without the advice and assistance of an experienced bankruptcy attorney.  But keep in mind that the advice and assistance of an experienced bankruptcy attorney is more than just filing out the paperwork correctly.  It is about ensuring that you and your family have the best chance for a fresh start and the best possible opportunity to rebuild your financial life.  Hiring and paying an attorney for their advice, counsel, assistance and the benefit of that attorney’s knowledge, ability and experience is an investment in your family’s financial future that ensures that you will obtain the greatest possible opportunity for a fresh financial start.  

Are you considering trying to act as your own attorney?  Do you have questions about your options in debt relief?  If so, I would invite you to first call us for a free strategy session with an experienced Kinkade & Associates attorney.  At Kinkade and Associates our service to you begins with a free initial in-person (with appropriate precautions) strategy session with an experienced local attorney.  During your free initial in-person strategy session an experienced Kinkade and Associates attorney will talk with you about you and your family’s options for debt relief.  At Kinkade and Associates we do not give “one size fits all” advice that is not personalized to you and your family but instead provide to you the individualized advice and service you deserve.    Some firms that do bankruptcy work handle all initial consultations by telephone or delegate the initial consultation to a staff person within the firm.  At Kinkade and Associates we believe that your family’s financial future is simply too important for you to rely only on a phone conversation or an initial consultation with someone who is not an attorney.  At Kinkade and Associates we believe that you should not make decisions about your family’s financial future based simply on a phone call or a conversation with a non-attorney staff person.   

If you hire us to work for you we guide you through each step of the process that is the best option to allow you and your family to achieve your goal of managing and resolving your debt.  From the initial strategy session through the completion of our services to you the personalized service provided to clients at Kinkade and Associates continues until we have done everything possible to assist you and brought you to the point where you have the greatest opportunity for a fresh financial start.  During that process you and your family can rely on Kinkade and Associates to provide to you the thorough and personalized legal representation you and your family deserve.  Our Pledge to you and your family is straight forward and effective.

The attorneys at Kinkade & Associates welcome the opportunity to meet with you personally to discuss your situation and provide you with detailed personalized information about the options that are best suited to your family’s circumstances.  Please contact us through our web site or give us a call to schedule your free no obligation initial strategy session with a local attorney.

Thank you for considering Kinkade and Associates.  

“Kinkade and Associates, helping families rebuild their financial life.”