Do I Need an Attorney to File Bankruptcy?
Considering bankruptcy in Las Vegas? If so, coming up with the funds to pay for an attorney may seem like an impossible task. Attorney fees for a bankruptcy are significant. Plus, hiring an attorney will often disqualify you from having your court filing fee waived.
Some filers in Las Vegas and throughout Clark county, Nevada choose to file their case pro se, or self-represented. The biggest benefit to filing Pro Se is that you don’t have attorney’s fees to pay. However, there are a number of factors you should carefully consider before filing your case on your own. Our Nevada Bankruptcy Law Firm is filled with experienced debt relief veterans and is a solid choice for representing your debt relief needs.
Which Chapter You File
It is hard to give unequivocal advice through a blog without hearing someone’s specific case details. However, if you file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you need an attorney, plain and simple. More than 99% of pro se Chapter 13 bankruptcies end in dismissal. Filing a pro se Chapter 7 is slightly more feasible than a Chapter 13. With those types of numbers, the deck is stacked against you. Additionally, we strongly urge any Pro Se Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Filers to seek the assistance. An experienced Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney would be a great asset. Plus, it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your financial future.
The Bankruptcy Petition
You don’t just “declare” bankruptcy. You need to file a petition with the court. Bankruptcy petitions are typically at least 50 pages long, and even more if the case isn’t simple. The petition will require information from a multitude of documents, like your tax returns, bank statements, vehicle registrations, pay stubs, divorce and child support documents, and more. You will only have to provide these documents to an attorney who will draft the petition using them if you are represented. Attorneys typically have complicated and expensive software to help them draft the petition. Drafting your own petition will likely be a daunting task if you don’t have an extensive legal background.
The 341 Meeting of Creditors
Every bankruptcy filer will attend a mandatory hearing called a 341 Meeting of Creditors. Like the name suggests, your creditors can attend and question you about your case, and may argue that their debts should not be discharged in your bankruptcy. Your bankruptcy trustee will also question you about your case and petition. If you don’t do well under pressure or struggle with public speaking, you may want an attorney by your side during the hearing.
Bankruptcy Filing Procedures
Some jurisdictions only allow attorneys to e-file, or file electronically. If you represent yourself, you may have to actually go to a courthouse, stand in line, etc. each time you file a petition, amendment, certificates of your credit counseling courses, and so on. Being represented by an attorney eliminates this hassle.
Emergency Bankruptcy Filing in Las Vegas
Some individuals, couples, and businesses in Clark County that file bankruptcy do so because they are facing an imminent wage garnishment, home foreclosure, or vehicle repossession. Thus, when this is the case, they will often initially file a “skeleton petition,” which is a briefer version of the standard petition so the filer can be immediately protected while preparing the rest of the standard petition. Even though the skeleton petition is shorter and simpler, filing two petitions inevitably makes a case more complicated. Additionally, doing so without an experienced attorney in Nevada means there are more opportunities for error. Errors during a bankruptcy filing can lead to many detrimental situations. It is always best to seek the assistance of an experienced bankruptcy lawyer when considering a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing in Nevada.
Bankruptcy Payment Plan Options
Many attorneys will require you to pay both the filing fee, $335, and their legal fees in full before they will file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy for you. This is because if they were to agree to let you pay for your case after filing, your debt to them would technically be discharged. Plus, agreeing to a payment plan would be an honor system that puts the bankruptcy attorney at risk. Especially, filers struggling with a wage garnishment. Also, high mandatory payment expenses make coming up with this money up front simply impossible. Therefore, our firm decided to utilize a process called bifurcation to address this issue.
Bifurcation basically means splitting a case into two parts. As mentioned in the Emergency Filing section, you can file a skeleton petition before your standard petition. Debts will only be discharged from before the skeleton petition is filed, so you can still incur debts in between your skeleton and standard petition. Using the process of bifurcation, we will charge you $0 for work performed up to the filing of the skeleton petition, and charge for work performed from that point. Because the charges for this work won’t be discharged in your bankruptcy, we can offer qualified filers a Vegas Zero Down Bankruptcy payment plan option.
Our payment plans can last up to one year post-filing. You will get to choose the date the payment plan starts (within 30 days of filing) and you will be charged no interest. Even better, our payment plans credit report, which will help you rebuild your credit score faster after your bankruptcy.
Contact Our Las Vegas Bankruptcy Attorneys
Whether you simply need advice before filing pro se, or if you have more questions about our Zero Down payment plan option, you can schedule a consultation to speak with one of our experienced bankruptcy professionals. Consultations are free of charge, and we offer them over the phone so you can start your bankruptcy from the privacy of your home. When you’re ready to get started, we’re ready to help- call to schedule your free consultation today! Call (702) 370-0155.