When it comes to legal proceedings, it is best to view them in much the
same way you would a medical concern. When there are issues with your
health, you visit a doctor or often a specialist when you have a certain
ailment because they have the experience and specialized training you
do not. Lawyers function in the same capacity, and they offer the experience,
insight, and tools to help guide you through your unique legal journey.
For many people who consider bankruptcy, there may come a time when they
wonder if they actually need a lawyer. While you have the right to have
legal representation during bankruptcy proceedings, there is no legal
requirement that you must have an attorney. Filing bankruptcy without
a lawyer is known as “pro se,” and it is not always a wise decision.
If you are considering filing
bankruptcy as a pro se debtor, is important to consider what you risk when taking
on a legal endeavor without assistance, as well as how you can benefit
by working with an attorney. At Wadhwani & Shanfeld, our attorneys
frequently field questions from prospective clients who voiced their consideration
of filing without a lawyer, only to later choose our team to help them
along the way after realizing the importance of having proven help. Ultimately,
they understood that
choosing the right bankruptcy attorney can make all the difference.
Here’s what to think about when you consider filing for bankruptcy
without a lawyer:
What’s required – Filing for bankruptcy on your own is not an easy endeavor. Because
there is a lot of legal information, procedural rules and guidelines,
and many forms and documents you must complete and provide, filing both
Chapter 7 and
Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be a daunting process. Pro se filers are also expected
to know the rules of federal courts and follow the U.S. Bankruptcy Code
and Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure. Filing an effective case would
require an extensive amount of time and research for a person who files
pro se, and there’s no guarantee they won’t inadvertently
make a mistake that jeopardizes their rights and the process due to a
lack of experience or familiarity with the subject.
Lack of insight – One of the most important things to remember is that you simply
don’t know what you don’t know. This means you may not be
able to identify your available options, or even a better approach to
your issue. A lack of insight can also led to tremendous challenges should
an unexpected complexity arise in your case. At Wadhwani & Shanfeld,
we have filed more than 10,000 bankruptcy cases for a diverse clientele,
and have learned the intricacies of how certain actions and situations
will be handled in bankruptcy and what can be expected in a given case.
We leverage this insight to help our clients fully explore their options,
understand their rights, and obtain the best possible outcome.
Advice – The U.S. Bankruptcy Court explicitly
strongly recommends filing bankruptcy with the help of an attorney due to the long-term financial
and legal outcomes it can have. When you file alone, you will be hard
pressed to find the advice and guidance you need, as judges and employees
of the court are not allowed to give you any legal advice by law. We advise
clients on all matters of their cases from beginning to end, including
which Chapter of bankruptcy is most appropriate, the nature of their debt
and what can be discharged, how to keep property when possible, tax consequences
of given actions, creditor payments, and much more.
Complex cases - While working with a lawyer can benefit anyone who is considering bankruptcy,
it becomes critical when cases are complex, especially if they involve
property and assets, non-dischargeable debts, and other financial complexities.
In cases involving Chapter 13 repayment plans and issues involving
foreclosure defense, second mortgages, liens, and other related issues, having an attorney
is essential to effectively and efficiently handling the labor intensive
work required. Our team is also prepared to handle matters of creditor
harassment and assist you in protecting your rights when creditors don’t
play by the rules.
What’s at stake – Considering bankruptcy is a sign of insurmountable problems with
debt. During one of the most difficult financial times in your life, you
want to be sure that you take the best and most appropriate steps to protect
your interests, your rights, and establishing the foundation for future
success. By going it alone, you miss out on the opportunity of not only
the counsel and guidance needed to ensure you navigate the process successfully,
but also the tools and information you need as you complete bankruptcy
and move toward financial freedom.
Attorneys Raj Wadhwani and Greg Shanfeld are two of just 84 Board Certified
Bankruptcy Specialists by the American Board of Certification, and they
focus on consumer bankruptcy. Over the years, we have helped more than
15,000 men, women, and families across Southern California successfully
navigate bankruptcy and other debt and financial matters when they needed
it most by leveraging
our attorneys’ expertise and their passion for making a lasting difference.
If you have questions about your current situation and how our bankruptcy
attorneys may be able to help you through the bankruptcy process, do not
hesitate to reach out to our firm. We offer free consultations, and can
personally explain the value and benefits you receive when choosing our team.
Contact us today for a free consultation.