You’ve seen the ads. Bankruptcy for a mere $200 bucks! Sounds like a good deal. You pay $200 dollars and make thousands (or even tens of thousands) of debt go away. So why would you pay seven-times that amount (or more) to hire a bankruptcy attorney? Here are three reasons why the $200 bankruptcy is not the bargain it appears to be:
$200 Does Not Get You a Lawyer
While bankruptcy fees vary widely around Arizona, you will not get a lawyer to file your bankruptcy for $200 unless your lawyer is also your spouse, mother, father, or some other relative. Bankruptcy is a complex process. It takes time and dedication to learn bankruptcy law and how to navigate the federal court system.
Despite what you may have heard, bankruptcy is not just filling out a bunch of forms – far from it. The problem is, by the time many people find that out, it is too late.
You Are on Your Own
Not only does $200 not get you a lawyer to help you prepare your bankruptcy documents, once your documents have been typed up you are on your own. No one to guide you through the process. No one to help you comply with the requests from the Bankruptcy Trustee. No one to prepare you for and attend the Meeting of Creditors.
All of this equals no peace of mind and really no idea what bankruptcy landmine might be right in front of you.
No Legal Advice
The entire purpose of hiring an attorney is to get legal advice. That is something a document preparer or paralegal cannot give you. They can only fill out forms with the information you give them. They cannot advise you on whether or not your property is exempt, whether the timing of the filing of your bankruptcy is right, or if you should even be filing for bankruptcy at all.
You may be thinking, “of course John is going to tell me not to hire a document preparer, he is going to make a lot of money from me if I file bankruptcy with him”. It is true that it will cost you more to file bankruptcy with my office. However, what you will be buying is peace of mind that your case is being done correctly. One of the most unsettling things in bankruptcy is to watch a person who went the $200 route lose valuable property that they didn’t have to lose, only because they didn’t receive proper legal advice. Don’t be that guy.