Yes, of course you can….but it is extremely dangerous and foolish to do that. I cannot tell you how many cases I have taken over after my client filed PRO SE, and made a complete mess of things. This resulted in my client paying me more to fix things than I would have charged the client if he or she had hired me before filing the case on his or her own.

Would you ever perform surgery on yourself? NEVER! Not even if you are a surgeon!

The most important fact to remember before anyone files any type of bankruptcy is that you must know in advance how the case will go down. You need to have all the facts before the case is filed with the Court. And you need to be sure your property is SAFE before you file anything with the Court. This is especially true if you are filing a chapter 7, because the Chapter 7 Trustee has the power to force a sale of your assets. The Chapter 7 Trustee can insist on the case going ahead even if you change your mind and want the case dismissed. The Chapter 7 Trustee has so much power over your financial situation, that you must know how the case will proceed before it is even filed. What does that mean?

That means it is way too dangerous for you to file on your own, without an attorney, especially if you own anything of value, whether a house, a car, bank accounts, or even a potential claim against anyone!

Over the years I have been hired to represent many people who were penny wise and dollar foolish. They chose to file their bankruptcy case on their own. They thought they could save themselves the attorneys fees. Well, I understand, because it is not cheap to hire an attorney, especially one with years of experience. But it is too dangerous not to! Believe me. One person that hired me thought he could save money using a Bankruptcy Petition Preparer, a non-lawyer to fill out the paperwork to start a Chapter 7. What a waste of money. Everything was filled out incorrectly and I had to redo everything. The house was at risk of being sold by the Bankruptcy Trustee, and I had to scramble to find a solution to avoid that result. Another client filled out the paperwork on his own, but he didn’t understand many of the questions and I have to redo it all.  And he also is risking losing his home and his business. Another client listened to her sister and let her sister prepare the paperwork. She hired me when the Trustee told her he was going to sell her home!

Bottom Line Advice:

Make sure you hire an experienced attorney and make sure that attorney has all the facts about your finances before you sign the final documents necessary to start a bankruptcy case. You want to know before the case is filed, what is going to happen. Is your house safe? Is your car safe? Are your other assets safe?

There are a number of other ways you can get into trouble filing a bankruptcy case on your own.  In my opinion, it is too dangerous to represent yourself, no matter how smart you are. It is not just a matter of filling out the paperwork. The bankruptcy laws are very powerful. Do not be penny wise and dollar foolish. Call a lawyer! Get proper legal advice before you file any type of bankruptcy case.

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