REPRESENTING YOURSELF IN BANKRUPTCY – OFTEN A MISTAKE
Experienced bankruptcy attorney, Craig D. Robins, Esq., recommends retaining bankruptcy counsel
In this country, anyone can represent themselves with any legal matter, and that includes a personal bankruptcy filing. However, filing bankruptcy in New York under the new bankruptcy laws is very complicated and there are many risks involved when you act as your own bankruptcy lawyer.
The court can dismiss your bankruptcy petition if not filed correctly
The new bankruptcy laws impose many obligations on debtors filing bankruptcy. They include obtaining the proper pre-petition mandatory credit counseling, demonstrating eligibility for filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy under the Means Test, filing certain documents with the court and trustee, and meeting certain important bankruptcy deadlines.
We have personally seen many pro-se bankruptcy cases dismissed because the debtors did not file the correct way or fulfill their bankrupcy obligations.
Filing personal bankruptcy is much more involved than what you would be led to believe from a "how to file bankruptcy" book. In addition to complying with the Federal Bankruptcy Rules and Procedures, you must also adhere to the local bankruptcy rules set by the Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York for filings in the Central Islip Bankruptcy Court or the Brooklyn Bankruptcy Court.
If you represent yourself, you can end up losing assets
On top of that, you need to know what property and possessions you can protect and how to go about doing so. Protecting assets in bankruptcy requires that you know how to use the New York exemptions. You need to know how to stop creditors and get debt relief by filing the petition for bankruptcy.
We have personally seen many bankruptcy pro-se debtors lose assets such as a car, home, tax refund and money because they did not know how to protect assets in bankruptcy.
If you are not careful, the bankruptcy trustee can sue your friends and relatives
Certain transactions that occur before a bankruptcy filing can be set aside by the bankruptcy trustee. For example, there are "fraudulent transfer" statutes that enable a trustee to sue relatives if you give your assets to them before filing. There are also "preferential transfer" statutes in which the trustee can also sue friends or relatives if you re-pay them instead of paying your other creditors.
We have personally seen many trustees go after friends and relatives of pro-se debtors who did not know that pre-bankruptcy transactions could cause a lot of trouble later on.
Beware of Bankruptcy Petition Preparers
A company that prepares bankruptcy petitions is not allowed to give you any legal advice. Only an attorney can give bankruptcy legal advice. Just because a paralegal or typing service is preparing your petition does not mean that it is being done in a way that will properly protect you. We have seen many cases where debtors who used a bankruptcy petition preparer saw their case go out of control.
Play it safe and retain an experienced bankruptcy attorney
Determining the answers to all of the above questions is no easy task. Merely filling out bankruptcy forms will not necessarily mean that you will get a bankruptcy discharge or that you will receive bankruptcy protection for all of your assets.
An experienced bankruptcy attorney, such as Craig D. Robins, Esq., can answer all of your questions, prepare bankruptcy forms properly, help you do the credit counseling, prepare the means test, file the bankruptcy petition with the bankruptcy court, file the appropriate documents with the bankruptcy trustee, and ensure that you do not run afoul of any other issues or bankruptcy laws. We develop a bankruptcy plan to enable you to get out of debt.
The new bankruptcy laws are so complicated that, since 2005, most general practitioner lawyers no longer do bankruptcy! Read the article that Craig Robins, Esq. wrote for the Suffolk Lawyer about the complexities of representing clients under the new bankruptcy law.The bankruptcy Means Test is so involved and complex, that we invite you to click here and take a look at the actual Means Test Form.
Most of our clients seek to eliminate many thousands of dollars of debt. It makes sense to invest in quality bankruptcy legal help to have it done right. We know the new bankruptcy laws and we know them well!
Our office makes the entire bankruptcy process easy and stress-free
We start by offering a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation to discuss debt management through bankruptcy. We provide quality bankruptcy help and representation at a reasonable cost. We answer your questions and treat you with respect. Most of our clients say to us at the end of their bankruptcy case, "Gee, Craig; is that all there is to it?" And the answer is almost always, "yes!"
Craig D. Robins, Esq. has a history of success
The fact is that over 99% of the clients that we file Chapter 7 bankruptcy petitions for are able to eliminate all of their credit card debts. Craig D. Robins, Esq. has over 20 years of experience dedicated to New York bankruptcy filings, and our office has represented several thousand Long Island bankruptcy clients with successful bankruptcies.