People who are thinking about filing for bankruptcy are already in a bad financial situation. As a result, it’s understandable that they’d look for ways to cut costs on their bankruptcy case. The cheapest option is to draft your own bankruptcy petition for free, and the next cheapest choice is to hire a bankruptcy petition preparer for a couple hundred dollars.
But consider this: Is it worth risking perjury or bankruptcy fraud charges only to save a few dollars? This is exactly what could happen if a low-cost, sub-par preparer makes a blatant error on your bankruptcy petition that the court cannot accept was intended.
What does it mean to be a bankruptcy petition preparer?
Essentially, a bankruptcy petition preparer is a glorified typist. There are no unique skills, training, or certification requirements to become a preparer. Many bankruptcy preparers have invested in special software to assist them in creating the forms you’ll need to file for various types of bankruptcy, although this isn’t essential.
Beyond filling out your forms with the information you provide, bankruptcy petition preparers are not qualified to provide any legal advice or help. Individuals who have done their own research into California bankruptcy law and are certain that they understand which sort of bankruptcy would provide the best relief and how to list their obligations, assets, and property should employ their services.
Working with a bankruptcy attorney has its advantages
Attorneys that specialize in bankruptcy have spent years researching the law and mastering every facet of the procedure. This enables them to provide expert help at every stage. Your bankruptcy lawyer can help you with:
- Examine your situation and advise you on the advantages of Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy
- Make sure you complete your California Means Test for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy correctly
- Educate you on the two California Exemption Systems and assist you in selecting the one that will best protect your personal property from being liquidated during the bankruptcy process
- Make sure your bankruptcy petition includes a list of all qualified debts and assets
- Help you avoid mistakes like submitting your petition too soon after: filing a previous bankruptcy petition, making a large credit card transaction, or transferring money or property to a family member
- Drafting and filing your bankruptcy petition
You can afford to hire a bankruptcy lawyer
When you consider all of the additional services you get from a bankruptcy attorney vs a bankruptcy petition filer, it’s clear that paying a greater cost is well worth it. In fact, if your bankruptcy attorney is able to assist you protect assets you didn’t realize could be exempted, you may even come out ahead financially.
We offer fair and inexpensive fee structures at The Law Offices of Paul Y. Lee, and we will do everything we can to bring you the kind of representation you require at a price you can afford.