Why You Will Save Money with a Bankruptcy Attorney in Kansas City
You may have considered filing bankruptcy without an attorney. Technically, you can. However, even the US Bankruptcy Courts strongly recommend only filing with a lawyer. Bankruptcy is a powerful financial tool that can change your life and future for the better. People who truly wish to get the most out of bankruptcy and be financially secure on the other side must have a qualified bankruptcy lawyer to ensure they receive the Bankruptcy Code’s maximum benefits.
Bankruptcy attorneys in Kansas City do cost money; however, you will actually save money in the long run by having a lawyer guide you through the bankruptcy process. Don’t believe us? Read on to see a few of the many pitfalls you will likely encounter if you file pro se that will end up costing you money, time and possibly result in having your case dismissed without a full debt discharge.
Common Pitfalls of People Who File Bankruptcy without an Attorney
- Improperly calculating the Chapter 7 means test. People whose income is above the median for the state and household size will have to perform a complicated calculation with many variables to pass the means test to qualify for Chapter 7. Without an attorney, many people will not make the calculation correctly, meaning they may think they don’t qualify for Chapter 7 when in actuality, they do.
- Filing incorrect paperwork. Yes, many forms can be found online. However, even in federal bankruptcy court, state and local rules also apply. Filling out the paperwork incorrectly can lead to the case being delayed, dismissed or worse, being accused of bankruptcy fraud due to mistakes or oversights.
- Not stopping a foreclosure sale. It is possible to stop a foreclosure sale, even at the eleventh hour, and save the home in Chapter 13. Anyone who has ever tried to negotiate with a mortgage lender without an attorney knows lenders do not make anything easy. Also, if you need to stop a foreclosure at the last minute, in some cases, we can file the petition the very same day.
- Failing to maximize your property exemptions. There are both state and federal exemptions to keep property out of the bankruptcy estate, but bankruptcy filers have to choose which would be better for their specific situation. If you do not know what you are doing, you will likely lose opportunities to use these exemptions to their maximum benefit.
- Unable to overcome creditors’ challenges. Creditors are able to challenge their treatment in bankruptcy and Chapter 13 payment plans to the court—a person without an attorney will have a hard time arguing on their own behalf against creditors’ experienced bankruptcy lawyers.
- Not filing an adversary proceeding regarding student loans. Student loans can only be discharged in bankruptcy by filing an adversary proceeding—basically, a lawsuit within the bankruptcy case. People without attorneys will have little to no chance of succeeding in this adversary proceeding. Further, our firm has a history of successfully reducing student loans in bankruptcy (see how our client’s student loan debt was reduced by $250,000!)
- Not receiving the full legal discharge at the end of the case.Much debt may qualify to be discharged at the end of the case, including second mortgages, portions of a car loan, certain taxes, credit cards, medical bills and more. However, you may have to present evidence and overcome creditors’ objections to receive the full amount of debt discharge. Without an attorney, you could miss out on being released from thousands of dollars of debt!
Questions About Filing Bankruptcy with a Lawyer? We Offer Free Legal Advice
Our office offers no cost, no obligation telephone consultations to review a potential bankruptcy case and to offer free legal advice regarding your financial situation. Many of our clients have later told us they felt better about their future after this first phone call, and many only regret not having made the call sooner.
Our Kansas City bankruptcy attorneys file cases in both Missouri and Kansas for individuals and businesses needing Chapter 7, Chapter 13 or Chapter 11.