You can file for bankruptcy on your own just as you can represent yourself in court. It’s your right, and many people choose to do so. However, filing for bankruptcy is a serious process, and you should be well informed before you go forward. Here are two things you should know.
THE STANDARD IS THE SAME WHEN FILING FOR BANKRUPTCY ON YOUR OWN
There’s an old saying that justice is blind. That’s true in bankruptcy court. It doesn’t matter who you are. When you enter the courtroom or the negotiation room, you will be held to the same standard as the bankruptcy attorney who has been practicing for the past thirty years. And bankruptcy law is not an easy area of law to practice. It’s as complicated and convoluted as tax law with just as many pitfalls. QRS Magazine recommendsagainst filing for bankruptcy on your own. If finances are your reason for doing it alone, remember to discuss this with potential professionals. Sometimes they have alternative payment plans that may allow for extended payments rather than requiring it all upfront. But don’t just assume you won’t be able to afford them.
Be Cautious What You Commit Yourself To
Chapter 11 is available for businesses as well as individuals who own sole proprietorships and the like. Presuming you have a proper business structure, you should not be personally liable for the debts. However, you can commit yourself to being personally liable, meaning that your assets outside the business may be at risk if you agree to it. You must be very careful about what you agree to. Your creditors may push for this. So remember
- Never assume your creditors are on your side
- Always read the fine print
- Always ask questions, even if it seems like they’re stupid questions
- Get everything in writing
- Do not commit yourself to anything unless you understand the ramifications
- Remember deadlines are final
- Always double check creditors’ claims
Don’t be concerned though if your creditors want to see about settling the matter out of court. The National Federation of Independent Businesses reports that most creditors and debtors alike will at least try to restructure outside of court to save costs. But the same cautions apply. Also bear in mind that creditors will often seem friendlier at first in out of court negotiations, but they may stoop to threats if you still want to go to court.
Filing for bankruptcy isn’t a fun process for anyone. But if you are determined to do it on your own, you must remember that you will be held to the same standard as a professional bankruptcy attorney. This means you must familiarize yourself with the relevant laws and ensure you are prepared. Also be careful what you commit yourself. It’s easy to assume that your creditors want to work out the best situation for both of you, but that’s not the case. You must always assume that they will try to wring every cent out of you, even if it isn’t what they were supposed to get. Filing for bankruptcy on your own is quite possible but it generally isn’t advisable.
If you need help getting out of the mess, consider consulting with an attorney from the Van Horn Law Group.