If someone is considering filing for bankruptcy, odds are he or she is already in a tough financial situation. The thought of hiring an attorney to file their case can seem out of reach. It is for this reason many consumers turn to the Internet for alternative solutions. Oftentimes, these come in the form of debt consolidation, credit repair and credit consolidation. All come with their own set of inherent risks and are oftentimes a temporary band-aid to a bigger problem.
“Do It Yourself” Bankruptcy kits are also flooding the Internet and promote a cheap alternative to eliminate your debt. One such software program, Upsolve, created by two Harvard graduates, promotes itself as a non-profit organization committed to helping low-income Americans get a fresh financial start through Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Sounds great, right? Well it is obvious the creators of the software (and others like it) overlooked one very important detail. The importance of the bankruptcy Means Test. To qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a filer must first pass the bankruptcy means test. This test is basically a formula that takes into account various factors, such as income, living expenses and family size, to determine if the filer can afford to repay his or her debts through a Chapter 13 reorganization bankruptcy in lieu of Chapter 7 bankruptcy. It is not a one size fits all type of test and can be very subjective, depending on the filer’s life circumstances.
It is important that people are aware of the risks of using this type of “do it yourself” bankruptcy software and filing Bankruptcy Pro Se. Changes to bankruptcy law enacted in 2005 added some complicated requirements to the field of bankruptcy. While most bankruptcy documents are form-based, this does not mean that they are easy to fill out.
When filing for bankruptcy, you will have to fill out much more than a standard bankruptcy petition. You will be expected to submit dozens of supporting documentation, listing every single debt, all of your creditors and all of your assets. If you make a mistake or miss something, costly delays can result. Not to mention, you run the risk of losing valuable property and possessions and your case being completely thrown out altogether.
An experienced bankruptcy attorney can also discuss the pros and cons of proceeding with a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The best piece of advice for these types of situations is “if it seems too good to be true, it likely is.”
While “do it yourself” projects may be a good idea around the house, let a professional handle your bankruptcy filing. Most bankruptcy attorneys offer free initial consultations to assess your financial situation to determine if bankruptcy is right for you. In addition, our firm offers affordable payment plans and Saturday appointments.
If you have questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.