Non-Attorney Bankruptcy Petition Filers Causing Problems for Debtors

This prolonged recession has hit many families hard. Many people have experienced financial problems for the first time, and are unsure what to do to get back on their feet. When they turn on the TV or go online, they are constantly exposed to ads from groups or organizations that are devoted to reducing debt or helping someone file for bankruptcy.
However, not all of these groups are created equal. Some unfortunately prey on debtors to make a quick dollar, and leave the individual in worse financial shape. Debtors rely on bad advice and have to find additional help to undo the damage that has been done.
Recently, there has been a rise in the number of non-attorney bankruptcy petition preparers offering their services to debtors in need. These individuals “help” a debtor file for bankruptcy. They assist the debtor with all of the necessary steps to file for bankruptcy, offering complete service at a cost comparable to attorneys in the area.
While this may sound like a bargain to someone who has experiencing financial hardship, it is often not the answer to getting out of debt. One of the biggest issues for a person going through the bankruptcy process is what property will he or she be allowed to keep. Attorneys experienced with assisting bankruptcy clients will know how to maximize a client’s exemptions, potentially allowing a debtor to keep their most important property (source: Alex Spiro).
Exemptions are just one small part of the complicated bankruptcy process. Once the bankruptcy plan is put in place, a debtor may be unable to change its terms. Property that is liquidated to pay off debts is gone and this cannot be changed.
Knowing the complexities of the bankruptcy code is just one advantage that experienced attorneys can provide to their bankruptcy clients. By understanding all of the options that are available, debtors can make the decisions that are in their family’s best interests.