|Bankruptcy gives you true debt relief. It encompasses ALL of your debts. Mortgages, auto loans, credit cards, medical bills, utilities, rent, taxes, your Uncle Henry are all part of the process.
Debt management companies (DMC) - the most common being debt counseling services (DCS) - can not deal with all your creditors. Also, creditors can 'opt-out' or ignore the DMC or DCS....they can not ignore us.
There is little or no regulation of the DMC or DCS industry and abuse is rampant. Nationally known firms are being sued or prosecuted. Look at the requirements of the new law as applied to attorneys! Even under the current/old law, every document supplied by attorneys in bankruptcy petitions were subject to scrutiny.
Did you know that most "non-profit" counselling services obtain their funding through fees paid by credit card companies based on the amount of money collected?
Some words about the notice shown here that we are required to give you if you are considering bankruptcy:
Yes, you can file a bankruptcy by yourself. For someone that does plenty of research, is very thorough in their record keeping, and is very careful...it is possible under the current law - actually, about 5% of bankruptcies done now are "pro se" (without an attorney). However, we do not believe most people will be able to do so under the new law....over time, books and websites will adapt and offer guidence, but it is just not out there now (even the US Trustee office does not have all the forms that are going to be required under the new law yet). A conversation with a local Trustee about the idea that most bankruptcies are routine provoked the response that most bankruptcies are NOT routine.
At a recent hearing, a pro se debtor stated that he was told online and by others that filing bankruptcy was easy. The Trustee advised him to get an attorney as his paperwork had serious flaws. The Trustee further stated "bankruptcy IS easy...when you know what you are doing."
The new law does not make bankruptcy easier. Many attorneys that have practiced bankruptcy law for years, even decades, are leaving the practice under the new law. Now is NOT the time to proceed without an experienced attorney.
Bankruptcy Attorneys in other districts...
What the law says:
11 USC 527A debt relief agency providing bankruptcy assistance to an assisted person shall provide--
a clear and conspicuous written notice advising assisted persons that--
(A) all information that the assisted person (you) is required to provide with a petition and thereafter during a case under this title is required to be complete, accurate, and truthful;
(B) all assets and all liabilities are required to be completely and accurately disclosed and the replacement value of each asset must be stated;
(C) current monthly income, and, in a case under chapter 13, disposable income are required to be stated; and
(D) information that an assisted person provides may be audited and that failure to provide such information may result in dismissal of the case or other sanction, including a criminal sanction.
each assisted person the following statement. The statement shall be clear and conspicuous and shall be in a single document separate from other documents or notices provided to the assisted person:
`IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT BANKRUPTCY ASSISTANCE SERVICES FROM AN ATTORNEY OR BANKRUPTCY PETITION PREPARER.
`If you decide to seek bankruptcy relief, you can represent yourself, you can hire an attorney to represent you, or you can get help in some localities from a bankruptcy petition preparer who is not an attorney. THE LAW REQUIRES AN ATTORNEY OR BANKRUPTCY PETITION PREPARER TO GIVE YOU A WRITTEN CONTRACT SPECIFYING WHAT THE ATTORNEY OR BANKRUPTCY PETITION PREPARER WILL DO FOR YOU AND HOW MUCH IT WILL COST. Ask to see the contract before you hire anyone.
`The following information helps you understand what must be done in a routine bankruptcy case to help you evaluate how much service you need. Although bankruptcy can be complex, many cases are routine.
`Before filing a bankruptcy case, either you or your attorney should analyze your eligibility for different forms of debt relief available under the Bankruptcy Code and which form of relief is most likely to be beneficial for you. Be sure you understand the relief you can obtain and its limitations. To file a bankruptcy case, documents called a Petition, Schedules and Statement of Financial Affairs, as well as in some cases a Statement of Intention need to be prepared correctly and filed with the bankruptcy court. You will have to pay a filing fee to the bankruptcy court. Once your case starts, you will have to attend the required first meeting of creditors where you may be questioned by a court official called a `trustee' and by creditors.
`If you choose to file a chapter 7 case, you may be asked by a creditor to reaffirm a debt. You may want help deciding whether to do so. A creditor is not permitted to coerce you into reaffirming your debts.
`If you choose to file a chapter 13 case in which you repay your creditors what you can afford over 3 to 5 years, you may also want help with preparing your chapter 13 plan and with the confirmation hearing on your plan which will be before a bankruptcy judge.
`If you select another type of relief under the Bankruptcy Code other than chapter 7 or chapter 13, you will want to find out what should be done from someone familiar with that type of relief.
`Your bankruptcy case may also involve litigation. You are generally permitted to represent yourself in litigation in bankruptcy court, but only attorneys, not bankruptcy petition preparers, can give you legal advice.'
each assisted person reasonably sufficient information on how to provide all the information the assisted person is required to provide including--
(1) how to value assets at replacement value, determine current monthly income, and, in a chapter 13 case, how to determine disposable income and related calculations;
(2) how to complete the list of creditors, including how to determine what amount is owed and what address for the creditor should be shown; and
(3) how to determine what property is exempt and how to value exempt property at replacement value.