Do not file a New York Bankruptcy by yourself

I just came back from a meeting of the creditors…the dreaded “meeting with the trustee.”  Most client were represented by a capable attorney.  Two clients were not.  Instead they filed all of the paperwork on their own or had a company that rhymes with “Schme the Veeple” file it.  Guess what happened.  The first client, who prepared his bankruptcy filing on his own, had his case dismissed.  It wasnt due to the fact that there was any fraud or hidden assets.  Instead, it was dismissed because he didn’t file the required paperwork.  Why you say?  Because he didn’t know what the required paperwork was or where to find that paperwork.  The second client fared even worse.  The client, who went to “Schme the Veeple” to file the case received some bad advice (even though you’re not supposed to receive any advice there.)  Long story short, the client wasn’t aware of the fact that he could only exempt $50,000 in equity from his house if his name is on the dead, regardless of whether he filed for the Bankruptcy jointly with his wife.  It will likely end with the client losing his house.  Which is sad…and ridiculous.  I have said it before and I will say it again, I understand why people don’t want to pay an attorney $1500 if they think they can do it on their own.  For some people, that may be ok.  However, for most people out there, Bankruptcy is way too complicated to go at it alone.  Can you keep you car?  Can you discharge unapaid taxes, student loans, etc?  Can you keep your home?  All of these questions have to be answered by a trained, experienced professional.  It really does not make financial sense to save $1000, when you could lose your home, or have your case dismissed.    Please make sure you really think about going at it alone, as it may cost you much more than you save.

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