There are many good reasons to use an experienced attorney is you are considering filing for bankruptcy. One top reason is that creditors often try to take advantage of people who are filing on their own — which is known as filing “pro se.” Less than scrupulous creditors rightly assume that non-attorneys simply do not have the legal knowledge to handle the process properly. They, the creditors, are in the driver’s seat — they use skilled attorneys to plead their case.
The consequences for not having an attorney represent you are not worth the risk. For example, if you don’t list an asset in your bankruptcy properly, or if you neglect to exempt it properly, you could lose that asset. In addition, if you file for a discharge and your creditor sees that you’re on your own, they are more likely to challenge the discharge. When they challenge your discharge, they are counting on the likelihood that you won’t know how to respond. With our office on your side, it’s less likely they’ll try to challenge things.
Another reason to have an attorney on your side is for the step-by-step advice we provide. For example, creditors often contact people without knowing they have filed for bankruptcy. It’s an honest mistake. But the fact is that nce you file for bankruptcy you have something called an automatic stay. The automatic stay stops all legal action against you and your property. At that point, what I tell all my clients to do is — Answer the phone.
It’s completely within your rights at this point to simply tell a creditor who’s calling to simply back off! Bankruptcy stops the harassment, and further good news is that you don’t have to pay at this point.
The procedure at this point is to give a creditor your case number and your attorney’s name and number. It’s also a good idea to let them know you know your rights —tell them that if they contact you again they are in violation of the automatic stay and you can get sanctions against them. Then you want to make a record of that phone call. Create a log and if that creditor contacts you again, make a note of that. This is very important, because a bankruptcy attorney can file a motion for sanctions against that creditor and obtain money from that creditor for violating the automatic stay. If you’re considering bankruptcy, give us a call. You can guide you through this complicated but in the end valuable process.