Bankruptcy petition preparers are all the rage with many consumers. They promise inexpensive filing assistance, typing, and a host of other things. Most bankruptcy preparers and independent bankruptcy paralegals charge between $199 and $299 plus court filing fees, so it may be tempting for you to consider them when making a decision to file a case.
Consumers should be careful, however, before taking this route.
8 Things Bankruptcy Petition Preparers Can't Do
Can't advise you to file for bankruptcy - or not to (so you could end up in bankruptcy when it's not necessary); Can't tell you which type of bankruptcy you should file (so you could file the wrong sort of case); Can't tell you which debts will be discharged if you file a case (which means you could file for bankruptcy in order to discharge a particular debt and end up remaining responsible at the end of the case); Can't tell you if you'll be able to keep your home, car or other property (which means you could file the wrong type of case and lose something you didn't think you'd be losing); Can't tell you if you'll be able to wipe out those tax debts; Can't tell you whether you should reaffirm a debt; Can't advise you about your rights and responsibilities under the bankruptcy laws; and Can't collect the money for the bankruptcy court filing fee and file the papers on your behalf.
So the bottom line is this - you could save a significant amount of money by filing for bankruptcy with one of these operations. But if you do then you're going to need to be ready for some heavy lifting.
Be prepared to learn the law inside and out to ensure that you're doing the right thing for your situation. Get familiar with all of the bankruptcy exemptions and the different types of cases. Study the forms you'll need to file, and know the local rules inside and out.
You should expect to spend between 50-100 hours of uninterrupted study before you can feel confident about your decision to file for bankruptcy without a lawyer.
Or you could just hire a lawyer to begin with, and rely on the experience you pay for.
Your choice, of course.
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