The idea of hiring an attorney when you are in the position of needing the protection of a bankruptcy filing may seem counter-intuitive. After all, if you are struggling to pay your other bills the thought of paying for an attorney may seem difficult. And that begs the question: is it possible to file bankruptcy on your own?
WHAT IS A PRO SE BANKRUPTCY?
It is, in fact, possible to file for bankruptcy on your own. This process is known as a pro se bankruptcy. While the vast majority of bankruptcies are handled by experienced bankruptcy attorneys, there is nothing in the bankruptcy code that prevents you from representing yourself in bankruptcy court.
In a pro se bankruptcy, you aren’t just a debtor; you are also your own attorney. You will fill every role normally taken by an attorney including drafting your petition, selecting your exemptions, scheduling your hearings, and appearing in court before the bankruptcy judge. While you are still responsible for the filings fees associated with a bankruptcy, acting pro se has the obvious advantage of avoiding the costs associated with hiring an attorney. However, the disadvantages of acting as your own attorney may be more serious than you know.
WHY A NEVADA BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY IS IMPORTANT
While some bankruptcy estates are small enough that the amount that the paperwork involved in preparing a petition is relatively small, in most cases drafting the petition and all of the required schedules can be difficult and time-consuming. Even if you are able to teach yourself, the consequences of a mistake are severe. If you fail to list all of your creditors, it is possible in some circumstances that they can prevent you from discharging your debt to them. If you forget to list certain assets or incorrectly value them, it is possible that you could be accused of fraud by the bankruptcy trustee.
There are also dozens of exemptions that can apply to your assets. Through those exemptions, you may be able to protect certain assets from being reached by your creditors during the course of your bankruptcy. But many of those exemptions have monetary limits that require you to choose how they are allocated. By making a mistake in how you apply your exemptions, you could open the door to your creditors reaching the assets that you could have otherwise protected.
Ultimately, the potential savings you could gain from a successful bankruptcy filing typically outweigh the price of hiring an experienced bankruptcy lawyer. And that says nothing regarding the potential risk of a costly mistake in your pro se bankruptcy petition.
DISCUSS YOUR OPTIONS WITH A NEVADA BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY
Attorney Rory Vohwinkel has years of experience as a Nevada bankruptcy attorney. His time representing debtors in Nevada bankruptcy proceedings has prepared him to help you determine a bankruptcy filing might be beneficial to you. If you would like to discuss your options for a financial fresh start with an experienced Nevada bankruptcy attorney, contact Vohwinkel Law today for your free consultation.