Randall and Waldner PLLC

Is it Easier to File for Bankruptcy Without an Attorney During This Catastrophic Pandemic?

(The person who represents himself/herself has a Fool for a client)

In a word – No! And you shouldn’t be foolish enough to even try. A record number of bankruptcies are predicted to be filed in the coming months in every state. Many hardworking Americans that have done everything right with their personal finances before the pandemic will absolutely seek bankruptcy relief for problems that arose through no fault of their own. In a desperate and hasty move, more bankruptcy filers are considering going it alone by filing bankruptcy “pro se,” that is without an attorney; perhaps persuaded by the rumor that filing for bankruptcy has somehow become easier during the pandemic. This is definitely Fake News and not anywhere close to the reality. Among other things, social distancing, new virus safety procedures and new internet technical requirements have all complicated the already difficult task of working with the bankruptcy courts. Even though more people are filing for bankruptcy, achieving a successful discharge or reorganization is harder now than ever thanks to both the Covid-19 and the continued actions of Big Business Lenders to keep you in chains. If you attempt to do it yourself, or through the services of an unlicensed paralegal form preparer, you may make an even larger mess then had you not tried.   

Bankruptcy is a Legal Right for all Americans and may be the only remedy in this true financial catastrophe.  The pandemic is the prime example of why bankruptcy law exists in the first place and, while it will eventually go away, what will follow will be the ruin for most Americans. That’s right – the Pandemic will be followed by the Collapse unless you take affirmative action to rid yourself of debt.  

But with this said, are you so foolish to believe that your creditors, those who will either lose their claim entirely or be forced to compromise it significantly, haven’t lobbied Congress to make that process as onerous upon you as possible? Of course, they have and will continue to do so for as long as a crooked Congress exists. Telephonic conferences, cumbersome virtual reality requirements, email exchanges and security portals are just a small sample of the New Normal. Further, judges, clerks and court staff are prohibited by law from giving legal advice to pro-se filers and are extremely diligent to limit the communications with the Do-It-Yourselfer.

As far as those so-called paralegals who claim to be able to properly fill out the forms, be prepared when a judge or trustee asks whether you’ve had any assistance from any third party in preparing your bankruptcy schedules. If you have, and you answer that question in the negative, well you’ve just committed perjury – which is a real bad event in all bankruptcy proceedings you file and may even affect your future filings. Mistakes made in bankruptcy can be the difference between a successful elimination of debt, having your case thrown out, or perhaps worse. 

In truth, there are some who could successfully complete their own schedules and follow the process through the system to discharge. This group includes, but are not limited to, disbarred attorneys, white collar criminals, or disgruntled legal secretaries, just to name a few. They couldn’t solve their own problems but feel that they can solve yours – for a fee of course. And how would you ever really know who you’re dealing with? In using a licensed and knowledgeable Attorney to plan and effectuate your bankruptcy, you are assured that that person has passed the rigorous requirements of the state Bar to possess the privilege to practice law. Without that level of assurance, the chances are that you won’t find that an unlicensed Form Filler-Outer is unqualified unless and until the whole show blows up in your face. But by that time, it’s probably too late.

Even assuming that your bankruptcy schedules are correct, there are still significant procedures and unique local rules to figure out before you’ll be successful. You’ll be spending most of your time learning the system, as well as the new vocabulary used by the system, instead of focusing on your life going forward. And, while all this knowledge will eventually come to you, it will be useless going forward as you either won’t have to use it again or, if you have to file again sometime in the future, the system will have already changed. Having a case dismissed for unnecessary errors or omissions is a mistake you cannot afford, especially in impossible times like these. So, if you represent yourself, don’t be surprised to find out that you have a fool for a client. 

Be serious about your financial future. Restarting your financial life in such times as these really requires you to hire a licensed and competent professional. The bankruptcy attorneys at Randall & Waldner are fully trained and can not only to guide you through an increasingly difficult process (that’s already stacked against you), but we have many other skills in numerous disciplines that can ensure that your reorganization, or debt discharge, has the best chance of succeeding.

The cost of one of our quality bankruptcy attorneys is surprisingly affordable especially when you consider the near miracle lifechanging financial benefits that you can expect to achieve. As it turns out, it’s money well spent leaving you time to consider more profitable pursuits. So, do the smart thing and take the time now to fill out our no-obligation intake forms in preparation for a free no-obligation discussion with one of our knowledgeable attorneys. In this, you have nothing to lose.