While it's true that you don't have to hire a bankruptcy attorney to file a petition, having his or her assistance can help you avoid some of the most common mistakes made when you go it alone. For some people these are not mistakes, but done purposely to manipulate the system. For others they are honest mistakes made due to misunderstanding the law. Either way, an attorney can help make sure that these problems are avoided.
Never hide assets from trustees. They know what to look for and are sure to find out if you've left assets off your list of items. You can discuss your assets with an attorney to make sure you have included everything that must be reported. If something is forgetting or intentionally left out, your bankruptcy will be denied. Make sure to play it straight and be honest.
Not Listing All Creditors
Do your homework when it comes to creditors and list them all. You can't just guess; you must take the time to accurately list all of them. While you may have the opportunity to amend the petition later if you've forgotten one or two, it is not guaranteed. And, if the bankruptcy judge believes you are trying to hide something or be misleading, you may find that your petition is denied.
Keep in mind that if you leave a creditor off the list or fail to provide a proper mailing address for a creditor, this debt is not likely to get wiped out with the rest. So, you are left to deal with this creditor on your own.
Filing Too Soon
While filing bankruptcy sooner rather than later is usually best, timing can be an issue in some cases. Depending on your circumstances, delaying the process may be best.
These situations may require a delay.
- Getting ready to file for divorce
- Expecting a large tax refund
- Currently repaying debts to family members
- Owe taxes that may be dischargeable in the near future
To make sure you are making good use of timing, discuss your situation with a bankruptcy attorney. Attorneys know the laws and can make sure you are within the laws and file when it is best for you.
Using Bankruptcy As A Last Resort
While timing can be important when filing, don't wait and use bankruptcy as a last resort when dealing with debt. If you cannot pay off your debts, excluding your mortgage, within a few years while living reasonably restrained lifestyle, you should contact a bankruptcy attorney and discuss your options. Talk to places like Michael D Doyle Attorney at Law for more information.