Why Using A Bankruptcy Preparer Is A Bad Idea
Ads for bankruptcy preparers can be tempting, promising certain bankruptcy services, at a fraction of the cost of what most lawyers may charge. But bankruptcy preparers are a dangerous risk, and in the end, can end up costing you way more.
What are Bankruptcy Preparers?
When you file bankruptcy, there is a lot of paperwork that needs to be filled out. The paperwork requires that you disclose income, expenses, who you owe money to, your property, the value of your property and information on any secured liens.
All this paperwork can seem daunting for the average person. So, bankruptcy preparers, for a fee, offer to help you fill out your paperwork for you, and often, they will even file the paperwork in court to help you start your case.
Many bankruptcy preparers are paralegals, although they don’t have to be—there is actually no legal requirement that a preparer have any specific legal background, experience or training at all.
No Advice or Guidance
The problem with preparers, is that all they’re doing is helping you fill out forms. They are not providing you any guidance, or advice, nor can they, not being lawyers.
A preparer could not tell you how to best use exemptions, or what property may need to be exempted. A preparer couldn’t tell you what chapter of bankruptcy is right for you. A bankruptcy preparer couldn’t advise you on dealing with your mortgage company, or redeeming or reaffirming your car loan, or what the legal ramifications are of that payment you made to a creditor last month may be.
A preparer can’t even look at your paperwork and financial documents, and advise you not to file bankruptcy, as any responsible bankruptcy attorney could or would, if he or she thought that bankruptcy wasn’t right for your particular situation. That means that you could end up filing your case when you shouldn’t have—and you could lose property that you wanted to keep. That’s hardly worth the nominal financial savings of using the planner.
Some preparers may even be unethical (though not all are). They may advise you to mislead the bankruptcy court, which can end up with you getting in very serious criminal trouble. A qualified and reputable bankruptcy attorney however, who has a license and ethics to uphold, will never advise you to do something that could get yourself in trouble.
You’re on Your Own
Even the best bankruptcy preparer is done once your case is filed. You are usually on your own after that.
Unlike an attorney, who will guide you through the 341 meeting of creditors, and the motions that may need to be filed to keep your property, and dealing with creditors who are overreaching what they can and cannot do in bankruptcy, a preparer does none of that.
Contact the Boca Raton bankruptcy attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Orchard at 561-455-7961 today to help you file your bankruptcy case the right way.