America has become a “do it yourself” culture. Some people feel that it is worth investing the time necessary to learn how to do tasks such as minor car repairs, or home remodeling projects if it saves them a few dollars in the end. There isn’t much harm in a minor interior design flaw, or a small car repair gone bad, but bankruptcy on the other hand is a serious legal matter, and if it isn’t handled properly, it could cost you time, money, and some of your possessions.
Bankruptcy law is a complex law. There are six different types of bankruptcies. Only an experienced bankruptcy attorney will know all the ins and outs of the bankruptcy laws in your state. You will not receive any special considerations from the court because you are choosing to represent yourself. You will be expected to know the requirements of the bankruptcy code, and you will be required to follow the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedures.
When you decide to represent yourself in a bankruptcy case, the list of things that could go wrong is pretty long. It is possible that if you miss a deadline, or fail to respond properly to an action, or to perform a required task, that your bankruptcy case could be dismissed. You could be denied your discharge, or even lose your property, which you would have been entitled to keep had you not made the error. Worst of all, you could be charged with bankruptcy fraud.
Under federal law (18 U.S. CODE, §§ 152 – 155) bankruptcy fraud is a serious crime. It is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $25,000 fine. The F.B.I. investigates all allegations of bankruptcy fraud. If you are unsure about whether or not an asset needs to be disclosed, you should consult a bankruptcy attorney.
In all Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings, the debtor will need to file a schedule of “exempt” property. Although you can find a general list of state exemptions online, this is a complicated area of the law. Only a qualified bankruptcy attorney will be able to determine which of your assets may be exempt.
Let Us Be Your Bankruptcy Attorneys
At McFarlin LLP, we offer free bankruptcy consultations. It is a great way to ease into the bankruptcy process without feeling pressured to commit to anything. Our bankruptcy lawyers will discuss your options with you, and help you to decide if bankruptcy is right for you, and if so, which chapter to file. Give us a call today at (888) 728 0044 or email us here.