Some individuals are able to successfully file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy without an attorney. The primary reasons for individuals choosing not to be represented by a bankruptcy attorney when filing for Chapter 7 are the inability to afford attorney fees. Others simply feel they don’t need an attorney to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy. A local bankruptcy lawyer who works in the jurisdiction you plan to file chapter 7 in not only knows the state laws, but also has a proprietary knowledge of the inner workings of that jurisdiction’s bankruptcy court system. While you may be able to save money, it is not always a smart choice to go it alone, and here are a few reasons why you should hire an attorney for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Keep More Property
Because bankruptcy attorneys file for bankruptcy on behalf of their clients every day, they are well versed in the lesser known exemptions that may be able to help you hold onto more property.
Discharge more Debt
Similar to the aforementioned point on property, a bankruptcy attorney will know exactly which of your debts is dischargeable and which is not. Listing debt that can’t be discharged could have your case dismissed leaving you to have to pay a second filing fee to reapply for Chapter 7. Additionally, there may be debt you have that you are unaware could be discharged.
File the Correct Chapter
The two primary chapters of bankruptcy are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. There are two main types of bankruptcy because not everyone will qualify for both, and each type treats debts differently. If you aren’t well versed in bankruptcy law, there is a chance you could be filing the incorrect type for your situation, and no one at the bankruptcy courts can tell you that.
Avoid Filing Bankruptcy
In certain situations, you may be able to avoid filing for bankruptcy completely. A bankruptcy attorney can provide valuable insight into bankruptcy alternatives that may be a better solution to your financial problems.
If you have a complicated Chapter 7 bankruptcy case or do not feel 100% comfortable with filing without an attorney, these are strong indicators that you should hire a bankruptcy attorney before proceeding. In the majority of occasions, a Houston bankruptcy lawyer’s fees pay for themselves in the additional debt discharged.