Did you know that filing a simple Chapter 7 bankruptcy with an attorney can cost upwards of $2500?! The high cost of declaring bankruptcy leaves many consumers wondering what to do if they can’t afford legal representation. Luckily, understanding the bankruptcy process can give you a clearer image of how to file without a lawyer.

What You Need to Know to File Bankruptcy Without an Attorney

Filing bankruptcy predominantly consists of completing standard legal forms. More specifically, these forms require an individual to disclose many different types of personal and financial information. This information should present a clear picture of the debtor’s current financial picture.

However, note that the information provided in the court forms may NOT be nebulous information. Instead, debtors must provide rather specific, concise, black-and-white facts about their income, budget, assets and financial history. As a result, an attorney cannot help you to change this information. That said, the paperwork does require a substantial amount of work. Therefore, using a bankruptcy petition preparer is helpful for organizing the information and forms to ensure completion and accuracy.

Once the paperwork is complete, the next step is filing the documents with the bankruptcy court. Luckily, this step is quite easy, and you can file documents in person at the court counter or by mail. Either way, once you’ve filed your paperwork, the court will assign you a case number.
The court provides notice by mail that a debtor has filed bankruptcy. This process is automatic; therefore, the debtor does not have to do anything to ensure that their creditors know they’ve filed bankruptcy! In fact, if a creditor does call a debtor after filing bankruptcy, it is usually because they have not yet received the formal notice. In this case, the debtor can provide the creditor with their bankruptcy case number and date of filing. This action should stop the creditor from calling again.
As a debtor, you must make one appearance before the bankruptcy court. Although people refer to this appearance as their “bankruptcy hearing”, it is not actually a court hearing. Instead, this appearance is a rather informal meeting before a Chapter 7 trustee whom the court has appointed to oversee specific bankruptcy cases.

This hearing, called the 341(a) hearing, is not conducted in a courtroom. Additionally, on the date of your appearance, there will be hundreds of other debtors in attendance as well! The trustee will call cases in sequential order in groups of five to ten to save time. Ultimately, when the Chapter 7 trustee calls a debtor’s name, they will move to the front of the line and answer a few brief questions. Then, believe it or not, the hearing concludes in about three minutes!

Typically, debtors who have retained a lawyer to represent them are very surprised to learn that their attorney cannot help at all during this brief question period. Note that creditors can also attend this informal meeting and ask questions, but as a practical matter, they rarely do.

After the bankruptcy 341(a) hearing, a waiting period must pass before the court can issue a final discharge. After this waiting period, the court will send the final discharge notice in the mail to the debtor and all creditors.

Note that the court will not issue a final discharge until the debtor has completed a financial management class. Typically, we recommend that debtors complete this class immediately after filing bankruptcy. Finally, once the debtor receives the final discharge notice, the bankruptcy case is over.

A bankruptcy petition preparer or legal document assistant cannot offer legal advice about whether you can file for bankruptcy. If, after evaluating all your options, you decide to declare bankruptcy, you can file bankruptcy without an attorney. Use an expert, low-cost, and fast legal document preparation service to help you fill out the required forms. Unfortunately, A People’s Choice no longer offers bankruptcy document preparation services.

Transcript:

Don’t let the legal system scare you! A People’s Choice is here to make it fast, easy, and hassle-free.  And don’t spend needless money hiring an attorney for matters you can handle with just a little professional help from A People’s Choice.

“I came to A People’s Choice because going to an attorney was far more money than I wanted to spend. And going through bankruptcy, money is an issue. And so I went ahead and did that and it was more convenient as well.

I thought the bankruptcy process would be really difficult and time-consuming. I had heard a lot of horror stories. But it turned out to be very easy. Just imputting information that I had made it very simple. I was already under a lot of stress because of collectors calling me and just wondering what to do about all these debts so it just eased a lot of my stress and anxiety.

A People’s Choice made it very easy. A lot of resources, booklets, pamphlets, going through everything step-by-step. There was a checklist that was very easy to follow and once I was done I was finished and I knew that everything was completed.

If you want to file bankruptcy without an attorney, I would recommend A People’s Choice to anyone. It was fast, easy, convenient, and it saved me a lot of money so it’s financially sound … and thank you A People’s Choice!”

Don’t let the legal system scare you. A People’s Choice is here to make it fast, easy and hassle free. Call now to talk directly to a professional legal document assistant at A People’s Choice or visit our website at www.APeoplesChoice.com

If you are looking to file bankruptcy without an attorney, locate a a bankruptcy petition preparer and registered legal document assistant service. A People’s Choice no longer offers bankruptcy document preparation services.