Can You File Bankruptcy without a Lawyer in Pennsylvania?
Filing for bankruptcy can be difficult, but you don’t have to go through it alone. While you might not be legally required to hire a lawyer when filing for bankruptcy in Pennsylvania, having an attorney by your side can make the entire process much easier.
You know the old joke: a man who represents himself has a fool for an attorney. In many proceedings, both civil and criminal, private individuals may serve as their own legal counsel. When it comes to bankruptcy, however, the rules are slightly different. Corporations and partnerships must retain legal advocates to act on their behalf. Private individuals, and my extension sole proprietors, may still opt to go it alone. Doing so can be a bad decision on top of a mountain of other financial problems.
Being on the brink of financial ruin can make people believe they can’t afford a bankruptcy attorney (you definitely can), but opting to tackle the court without legal help is almost never advisable. For a free case evaluation with the Pennsylvania bankruptcy lawyers at Young, Marr, Mallis & Deane, call today at (215) 701-6519.
Can You File for Bankruptcy without a Lawyer in Pennsylvania?
When some people hear the word bankruptcy, they don’t think of it as a legal process. To many, lawyers are reserved for lawsuits, not to help sort out personal finances. In reality, bankruptcy lawyers can help Pennsylvania residents navigate financial instability and come out the other side successful. If you plan on filing for bankruptcy in Pennsylvania, it’s important to learn whether or not you can do so without an attorney by your side.
As an individual filing for bankruptcy, you’re not required to retain counsel. That said, individuals are rarely required to have an attorney, regardless of the legal proceeding taking place. Even though you legally don’t have to hire a Pennsylvania bankruptcy lawyer to represent you, you should. Filing for bankruptcy is a complicated process. It is important to have an attorney by your side who is familiar with the process and dedicated to advocating for your interests. Filing for bankruptcy without a lawyer as an individual is never wise. When your financial health is at risk, entrust it to an experienced professional.
Certain companies, like corporations and partnerships, must hire an attorney when filing for bankruptcy. Unlike individuals, corporations and partnerships are not permitted to file for bankruptcy without representation in Pennsylvania.
Finding the right Pennsylvania bankruptcy lawyer can seem like a difficult task. When hiring an attorney to represent you in a bankruptcy claim, choose one that answers your questions and prioritizes transparency and honesty. Filing for bankruptcy can make a person feel understandably vulnerable and cautious. That is why it is important to hire a Philadelphia bankruptcy attorney that has your back, above all else.
What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Lawyer?
If you plan on filing for bankruptcy in Pennsylvania, it is crucial to have an experienced attorney by your side. In addition to helping you choose which type of bankruptcy to file for, your attorney can compile the necessary financial information to help you successfully file for bankruptcy in Pennsylvania.
You might think that once you choose to file for bankruptcy, the big decisions are over. That’s not the case. You have to decide what type of bankruptcy you’re going to file for. Pennsylvania residents can either file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy to regain financial stability. Chapter 7 bankruptcy works to repay debts by liquidating a filer’s assets. Your Pennsylvania bankruptcy lawyer can help you handle Chapter 7 asset liquidation without putting you and your family at risk.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows filers to pay off debts via a repayment plan. Your attorney can work hard to ensure that a repayment schedule matches your needs and current income and is not just appealing to creditors.
An experienced Pennsylvania bankruptcy lawyer can also prepare you for attempts by creditors to get an automatic stay lifted. When Pennsylvania residents file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, an automatic stay will go into effect. This stay prevents creditors from harassing you regarding payments and engaging in other debt-collection efforts. Sometimes, creditors will attempt to get an automatic stay lifted for their benefit. When this happens, you can become vulnerable. A skilled attorney can fight against greedy creditors to ensure an automatic stay remains in effect throughout your entire bankruptcy.
What Can Happen if You File for Bankruptcy without a Lawyer in Pennsylvania?
When you file for bankruptcy, you’re being honest about the fact that you need help with your finances. Take the next step and accept help from an experienced Pennsylvania bankruptcy lawyer. Your attorney can help you avoid the long-term financial consequences of an unsuccessful bankruptcy. An experienced Pennsylvania lawyer can help you file for bankruptcy and meet the necessary guidelines so your claim isn’t rejected. Not to mention, a lawyer can protect you from unsavory creditors who care more about collecting payments than your financial stability. While individuals can technically file for bankruptcy in Pennsylvania without an attorney, doing so can have serious consequences.
Long-Term Financial Consequences
The rules of bankruptcy filing are highly technical. A single error can affect your rights and allow your creditors to resume their pursuit of your personal assets, including your home or other property. You don’t want a missed line on a form to be the reason the court rejects your appeal for protection. Additionally, it’s difficult for you to gauge the long-term financial consequences of going through the bankruptcy process because your current situation clouds your judgment. You just want to be out of debt — that’s an understandable goal. A Pennsylvania bankruptcy attorney reviewing your documents and accounts may be able to recommend a better path that doesn’t involve bankruptcy. You could be out of debt sooner and emerge with a healthier credit rating than by simply allowing the court to sell off your assets and leaving your creditors in the lurch for the balances.
Missing Filing Deadlines
If the court wants your documents returned by the 15th of the month, and you rush to the clerk’s office on the 16th, it’s too late. Filing deadlines are usually set in stone, and the court has ruled time and again that it lacks the authority to retroactively move your deadline date. You have a life to live: getting to work, picking up the kids, making dinner, trying to pay bills. Getting paperwork into the court a day late only makes sense in light of the other obligations you’re dealing with, but in a judge’s eyes, it appears as though you’re not taking your situation seriously. By having a Pennsylvania bankruptcy lawyer working for you, you have someone on your side who makes it their business to get your paperwork in on time and filled out correctly.
Making Deals You Don’t Understand
Creditors may approach you throughout the bankruptcy process with promises of favorable terms to settle your debts and remove them from the filing. Agreeing to terms to repay your debts without consulting an attorney isn’t advisable because you simply might not fully understand the terms before you seal the deal. The last thing you want is to end up in another crushing financial situation. Not to mention, if an automatic stay is in place, creditors are not allowed to hassle you for debt payment. If that happens, tell your attorney right away. A lawyer working for you has a duty to act in your best interests, and if a creditor’s proposal isn’t favorable to you, they’re going to reject it for you.
If you’re ready to stop the creditor collection calls and get your credit back on track, bankruptcy may be the best solution for you. Call our law offices today to discuss your debt issues in private with an experienced Mount Laurel bankruptcy lawyer. We’ll work to find the most effective means for you to ease the anxiety and get out from under this crippling debt.
When Should You Hire a Bankruptcy Lawyer in Pennsylvania?
Making up your mind about filing for bankruptcy is not a prerequisite of hiring a bankruptcy lawyer. In fact, you don’t have to make any decisions at all before you consult a lawyer. As soon as you realize your finances are in trouble, speak to an attorney. Your Pennsylvania bankruptcy lawyer can assess your finances and help you choose the right path forward.
Don’t wait to consult an attorney if you’re considering filing for bankruptcy. If you do, you might risk getting into further debt. Your attorney can assess your finances and help you make the best plan for you and your family.
Filing for bankruptcy can seem scary at first. In reality, it’s often a useful tool for Pennsylvania residents struggling financially to regain their footing and agency over their future. Unfortunately, because so many fear bankruptcy, they might delay hiring an attorney, worsening their financial situation.
If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy in Pennsylvania, don’t hesitate to consult a lawyer. An experienced attorney can explain the process and put your fears at ease so that you feel comfortable filing for bankruptcy and hopeful about the prospect of regaining your financial stability.
Call Our Pennsylvania Lawyers About Your Bankruptcy Case Today
Take charge of your finances and speak to an attorney about how filing for bankruptcy can help you. For a free case evaluation with the Delaware County bankruptcy lawyers at Young, Marr, Mallis & Deane, call today at (215) 701-6519.