The short answer is no, you are not obligated to have a lawyer in order
to file for
bankruptcy in New York. On the other hand, when dealing with an issue of such legal
and financial significance, and where you may lose assets if you don’t
understand the law, it can be worth it to hire an attorney to advise and
guide you through the process.
What would I have to do to file by myself?
Filing for bankruptcy can be fraught with confusing jargon and deadlines.
From the start, a White Plains bankruptcy lawyer can determine whether
to pursue a
Chapter 7 or
Chapter 13 bankruptcy depending on more that simply determining which one you qualify
for. A bankruptcy attorney can help you determine how to best protect
your assets and can take into account your unique personal circumstances
in making a recommendation as to which type of bankruptcy is best for you.
Your next step is itemizing your current income, monthly living expenses,
debts, and personal and real property. You should also look over your
tax returns for the last two years, deeds to any real estate you own or
on title to, the title to your car(s), and documentation related to any
loans you may have.
If you choose to move forward without legal representation, you will need
to determine which property of yours is exempt from liquidation for the
benefit of your creditors and what set of exemptions is best for your
circumstances. After this, you can file your case with the bankruptcy
court. On these forms, you will be asked to describe your current financial
status and recent transactions. Not filing correctly or honestly can jeopardize
not only your assets but also whether or not you can get a discharge.
Bankruptcy Attorneys: Worth the Cost
Bankruptcy cases need to be filed and handled correctly because the rules
governing them are technical and any mistake could potentially prevent
you from having relief from your debts or worse, losing property that
is important to you or which you want to keep. If any of these things
happen, hiring a lawyer after they happen can be much more costly than
if you had hired a lawyer from the very beginning.
In addition, in Chapter 7 bankruptcy you do not have the right to dismiss
your case and need permission of the Court to do so. So, you cannot count
on dismissing your case if something goes wrong.
In the end, given the amount of time and work needed to prepare and file
a working bankruptcy petition, getting advice from an attorney who practices
bankruptcy law and understands how bankruptcy works in New York can be
a great advantage when it comes to protecting your assets and securing
your financial future.
For answers to your bankruptcy questions,
contact Natasha Meruelo, Esq. for a