Should I Use a Petition Preparer?
I often receive calls from people who have gotten themselves into trouble for using a petition preparer to file their bankruptcy case. Unfortunately, some people make the mistake of choosing to work with a petition preparer instead of a bankruptcy attorney. This decision often has a detrimental impact in their bankruptcy case. Saving some money is not worth putting your bankruptcy case in jeopardy. It is important that before you hire a petition preparer you learn what they can and cannot do.
A petition preparer is sometimes called a “typing service.” The petition preparer, at your direction, types the information that you give her into the bankruptcy forms. The petition preparer is not an attorney or is affiliated with an attorney. Petition preparers have no legal training, experience, and are not licensed to give legal advice.
Petition preparers cannot:
- Give legal advice of any form. They are not attorneys and don’t have the necessary legal training, experience, or license to provide legal advice.
- Represent you in any type of bankruptcy proceeding.
- Provide you with legal advice throughout the process.
- Give you information about your bankruptcy case after it has been filed.
- Tell you in which schedule of the bankruptcy petition to insert information in.
- Advice you on what exemptions to use to protect your property.
- Tell you that a certain property is going to be protected, or not protected from creditors, or from foreclosure.
- Advice you on how to stop a wage garnishment or if the bankruptcy could stop a wage garnishment.
- Give you advice about which chapter of the bankruptcy code you should file under ( Chapter 7 or Chapter 13).
- Tell you to omit certain kinds of debts or omit certain kinds of assets.
- Handle your court filing fee or file your case for you.
- Advice you on how to deal with your creditors or the bankruptcy trustee.
- Advice on how to handle the bankruptcy hearing.
What could a petition preparer do?
A petition preparer may ONLY type the information you provide into the bankruptcy documents and can only do it for a reasonably fee!!
What could happen if you file your case using a petition preparer?
- Your case could be dismissed because the petition preparer made a mistake on the forms.
- Your property could be taken away from you because the petition preparer did not know how to properly protect your property.
- Your case may be dismissed because the petition preparer used old forms or the wrong forms.
- Your case may be incomplete because the petition preparer did not complete all required forms.
- You may have to file a new case because the petition preparer filed under the wrong chapter of the bankruptcy code.
- You may have to go to more than one bankruptcy hearing in order to solve the problems with your bankruptcy case.
- You may not get a chapter 7 or Chapter 13 discharge (elimination of debt).
- Your home could be foreclosed on.
- You may not be able to stop your wages from being garnished.
- You may not be able to eliminate the debts for which you filed the bankruptcy case.
- You may have to hire a bankruptcy attorney to solve the problems that the petition preparer caused.
- You may become embroiled in other unnecessary legal proceedings.
- You will not have representation during the bankruptcy hearing.
- You could be scammed out of money that you paid the petition preparer.
Filing for bankruptcy is not an easy task. Bankruptcy case filings are on average a 50 page long petition filled with very important information that could make or break your bankruptcy case. Do not be a victim of an unscrupulous petition preparer. Do yourself a favor and at least attend a consultation with a Maryland or Washington dc bankruptcy attorney (or an attorney in your state) before filing for bankruptcy. Having an experienced bankruptcy attorney file your bankruptcy case will save you a lot of headaches and save you money at the end of the day.
Speak to an experienced Maryland and Washington D.C. Bankruptcy attorney before filing for bankruptcy. A bankruptcy attorney will give you advice if bankruptcy is a good option for you depending on your individual circumstances.
A Washington D.C. bankruptcy attorney could give you advice on the effect that filing for bankruptcy will have on the HOA fees you owe. Ready learn more about the bankruptcy process? Call 202-445-4775 or contact us for a consultation.