Filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: Do You Need a Lawyer?

Every year, thousands of Americans find themselves drowning in debt and in need of filing for bankruptcy. To them the idea of attorney’s fees seems out of the question. They think if they can take the attorney’s fees out of the equation, filing for bankruptcy would be a lot more doable. And to be perfectly clear, by law, you don’t need a lawyer to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, it is most definitely not recommended. While filing for bankruptcy on your own will save you money, it’s a very serious undertaking and it should not be attempted by someone who doesn’t know what they are doing. To give you an idea why, here are some of the steps you would have to undertake if filing alone.

Mean Test

When considering whether to file bankruptcy without a lawyer, the first step is to conduct a “Means Test” to determine whether you even qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You’ll have to answer questions about your income, your debts and assets, and the number of people in your household. The more income and assets you have, the more complicated this process can be.

Credit Report & Counseling

The next step is to obtain credit reports from all three credit bureaus. You’ll need all three reports because creditors don’t typically report to every bureau. If you fail to report a debt, it won’t be discharged in bankruptcy. Next, you’ll have to complete a credit management and financial literacy course.

The Paperwork

Filling out the paperwork is generally the most complicated and time-consuming task facing people who choose to file bankruptcy without a lawyer. After you’ve completed all the forms, attached the relevant documents and submitted the paperwork, you’ll need to promptly respond to any correspondence from the bankruptcy trustee. Failure to do so can get your case dismissed.

Meeting of Creditors

You’ll have to attend your “Meeting of Creditors” on the scheduled date. Although your creditors won’t actually be present, the trustee will be and will ask you a number of standard questions about your case. Be sure to answer truthfully and accurately.

Personal Financial Management Instruction Course

Finally, you must complete a post-filing Personal Financial Management Instruction Course within 45 days of your meeting of creditors. After you’ve completed the course, you can finally take a breath and just to wait to hear whether your debts have been discharged.

If you’re like most people, you wouldn’t even know how to start the above processes. This is why we don’t recommend that anyone try to file for chapter 7 bankruptcy without a lawyer. You’ll want the person representing you to be someone who is trained to do so. When it comes to protecting you and your family from these tough problems… EXPERIENCE COUNTS!!!

To schedule a no-obligation visit with an attorney at any of our offices, please call (800) 978-4788 or fill out an appointment request online. The law is there to help you… and so are we!


I’m Drowning in Debt. What Should I Do?

If you are drowning in debt and can’t pay your bills, you need to act quickly to rebuild your credit. You have a number of solutions available, with bankruptcy as a last resort. If you don’t think filing for bankruptcy is the right move for you at this time, here are a few things you can do to try and catch up on your debt. Continue reading…


Applying for Bankruptcy: What to Expect

Bankruptcy is a government-sponsored legal proceeding you can use to reorganize, fix or totally get rid of your debt, depending on your financial situation. While bankruptcy can be very helpful if your financial situation is overwhelming, it is also poorly understood. So, we decided to put this blog together explaining some of the things you might expect if you file for bankruptcy protection. Continue reading…


Chapter 13 Reorganization…What Is It and How Can It Help Me?

Chapter 13 cases are often called “repayment” or “partial repayment” plans. These are bankruptcy reorganizations, where a payment schedule is set up to deal with your creditors. Chapter 13 is very similar to a debt consolidation program, but with many more special options and protections set up for you…and the power of the Federal Courts to keep every creditor from bothering you!! Continue reading…


How to Stop Foreclosure on Your Home

If you fail to make your required mortgage payments, foreclosure may occur. Foreclosure is the legal means that your lender can use to repossess your home. It allows the lender to seize your property, evict you and sell your home, as stipulated in the mortgage contract. If your property is worth less than the total amount you owe on your mortgage loan, a deficiency judgment could be pursued. If that happens, you not only lose your home, you also would owe your lender an additional amount. Both foreclosures and deficiency judgments could seriously affect your ability to qualify for credit in the future. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to stop foreclosure. Continue reading…


What is a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case?

The most common form of bankruptcy in America is known as Chapter 7, also called a “Fresh Start” case. It is the most popular because it is quick, relatively easy to navigate, and often costs less than other forms of bankruptcy. In 2013, there were approximately 730,000 Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases filed all over the United States, and almost 26,000 of these were filed in the Metro Detroit area alone!! Continue reading…


What to Look for in a Bankruptcy Lawyer

Bankruptcy lawyers often benefit from a tough economy, but their clients, many of whom know little about the process and have even less time to research it, are usually lost when it comes to seeking the help of an expert. With creditors closing in and desperation and despair mounting, many people foolishly select a bankruptcy lawyer based on price, an advertisement or no criteria at all. Selecting the right person or firm to handle your bankruptcy can mean the difference between an eventual rebound and long-term pain. If you’re considering bankruptcy, here are some things to consider when searching for a bankruptcy lawyer. Continue reading…


Different Types of Bankruptcies: Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13

 

Deciding to file for bankruptcy is no easy decision. How will it impact the future of your financial stability? Will it wipe out all or just some of your debt? Will you lose property like a home or car? What are the different types of bankruptcies and what do they do? Continue reading…


What is Bankruptcy and What Can it Do For You?

From the earliest of times, lawmakers understood that sometimes bad things happen to good people and those people might need relief from their creditors. In the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy, Moses wrote: “At the end of every seventh year you must cancel the debts of everyone who owes you money” (see Deuteronomy 15:1). Eventually, the idea of allowing people to walk away from some or all of the debts they owe became known as “bankruptcy”. Here in America, the Founding Fathers also recognized this need and wrote at the very beginning of the U.S. Constitution that Congress shall have the power to establish “uniform laws on the subject of Bankruptcy throughout the United States”. Article I, Section 8. Continue reading…


The Pig, The Chicken … and Breakfast

The old saying goes about breakfast:  the chicken (who provides the eggs) is “involved” with your meal…but the pig (that provides the bacon) is “committed”!!

There are so many options out there for bankruptcy services…how to choose where to go?  You want a firm that is COMMITTED to knowing the law, mastering the issues, and providing top notch representation on YOUR PARTICULAR TYPE OF PROBLEM.

When you need help, don’t look for a “part time” legal provider.  Many attorney offices do 5-7 bankruptcy cases a year, or they might do 10 different areas of the law!!  If you try to do 10 different things, we guarantee you won’t be doing any of them well.  It’s just human nature…you can only split your time and attention so many ways.  And you can only invest in LEARNING so many things.

You want a law firm who makes bankruptcy a SIGNIFICANT portion of their business.  At Frego & Associates, bankruptcy is pretty much all we do.  We are the largest bankruptcy firm in Michigan (and have been for over 12 years!).  In fact, we are one of the 10 largest bankruptcy firms in the entire United States.

Where other law firms are simply “involved” in doing a bankruptcy case here and there…Frego & Associates is COMMITTED to providing the best possible service and advice for you and your family.

Come to Frego & Associates, speak with one of our attorneys about your financial problems, and see what a difference it can make in your life!!  There is a reason we are one of the 10 largest bankruptcy firms in the USA…we are committed to helping our clients all the way through the process, from beginning to end.  And that commitment makes all the difference for you!!


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