Monday, June 28, 2010

Filing Bankruptcy Without an Attorney - Beware of the Pitfalls!

Debtors can elect to represent themselves when they file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Oregon. This is generally referred as filing "pro se".

Today I was in a hearing where a debtor who filed pro se encountered a tragedy that could have easily been avoided. She had hired a petition preparer to fill out her documents, but she did not have an attorney on her case. The Trustee asked if she had ever filed bankruptcy before, and she said "yes, in 2002". The Trustee pulled up her prior filing and discovered that she had filed her current case 2 weeks too soon to receive a discharge. He told the poor woman that he was reporting the case to be dismissed and she would have to start from scratch. Not only will this woman have to complete the difficult paperwork all over again, she will also have to pay another court filing fee. She will also have to spend many hours in her new case, along with a lot of energy. Had she hired a competent attorney the case would have been filed a couple weeks later and she would receive a discharge and go through the process once. She may have saved a few dollars by hiring a petition preparer, but the results were disastrous. 

There are many other pitfalls in the bankruptcy process. Hiring an experienced Oregon bankruptcy attorney will ensure that the case is handled properly and you can rest assured that it will proceed smoothly and you will get the results you deserve.

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