Can I file bankruptcy by myself in Michigan?
The short answer is yes, you can file bankruptcy yourself in Michigan as you can anywhere in the United States Federal Bankruptcy court system. You can also pull your own teeth or hook up your own gas range, but obviously it is better to hire a professional when it comes to these things to make sure that things go smoothly. If you try to do it on your own, with limited or no experience, you will probably get bad results which will likely cost you more to fix the problem than if you had hired a professional in the first place. As a Board Certified Michigan Bankruptcy attorney, I have personally handled well
over ten thousand consumer bankruptcy cases in the Detroit bankruptcy court over the past 20 years, and I still learn something new about filing bankruptcy cases nearly every day. Unfortunately, the bankruptcy court in Detroit has seen a large rise in the number of “pro se” cases in which people have attempted to file bankruptcy by themselves in the past few years, usually with devastating results. My guess is that this is because people think they cannot afford the fees required to hire a bankruptcy attorney, but in most cases, the fees are much less than what it will ultimately cost you if you try to file bankruptcy on your own.
Reasons not to file bankruptcy by yourself:
- It will take you longer than if you hired an attorney.
- You will likely lose more of your assets than if you hired an attorney.
- Your bankruptcy Trustee and Judge will likely get frustrated with you as your case will require more of their time and multiple court hearings to fix things that are wrong with it.
- You have a much higher chance of having your case dismissed outright or not receiving your bankruptcy discharge. See http://detroitbankruptcylawyer.com/detroit-bankruptcy-blog/2013/06/the-bankruptcy-discharge-just-what-debts-get-discharged/
- You could be accused of bankruptcy fraud if your bankruptcy schedules are not properly prepared.
Reasons you should hire a Board Certified Michigan Consumer Bankruptcy Attorney:
- A board certified bankruptcy attorney has the experience to handle any difficulty which may come up in your case.
- Your attorney will know the particular quirks of your bankruptcy Trustee and Judge and their office procedures to ensure all documents are provided timely and your case goes smoothly through the court system.
- Many attorneys, myself included, charge very reasonable attorney fees which can be paid in installments in most cases.
- My success rate for obtaining a discharge on behalf of a client in a typical Chapter 7 Bankruptcy case is 100%.
- You will save time and money. You will save the many trips to the courthouse that people attempting to file on their own will have to make and the associated gas and parking expenses and you likely will not lose assets that you would likely lose to a trustee in a case that was not prepared properly.
- You’ll sleep better. Life is stressful enough, why not leave the difficult task of handling a bankruptcy filing (which takes from 4 to 6 months or longer) to a professional.
What are Bankruptcy Petition Preparers?
Many of the people who are attempting to represent themselves in our local Detroit bankruptcy court have actually had assistance and had their bankruptcy petition prepared by illegally operating bankruptcy petition preparation services some of which are portraying themselves as attorneys or”experienced in bankruptcy law”. Click here for a link to a list of banned bankruptcy petition preparers in the Detroit Bankruptcy Court http://www.mieb.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/prose/Enjoined%20BPP%20notice%20content%20page.pdf. Please do not fall victim to one of these scams. I have had countless bankruptcy debtors who have come to my office after having had a horrible experience with a bankruptcy trustee who is liquidating an asset or where their bankruptcy discharge is in jeopardy after paying hundreds of dollars to one of these illegal bankruptcy petition preparers.
These individuals often coach their clients to lie on their petition, to the bankruptcy Trustee and even the Judge. Petition preparers are prohibited by federal law from providing any legal advice at all, they are required to sign any and all documents they assist in preparing and print their name, complete address, and their social security number on all documents; and are required to give copies to the debtor. They are further prohibited from signing a document on the bankruptcy debtor’s behalf or receiving payment from the debtor for court filing fees. Some bankruptcy petition preparation companies are legitimate, but the law requires them to disclose their name on your petition, can only charge a maximum of $100, and they are only permitted to type your paperwork, not give you the much needed legal advice you need.
How do I get more information on filing bankruptcy in Michigan?
Michigan bankruptcy attorney Walter Metzen is available to personally meet with you to discuss these and any other questions you might have regarding filing a consumer bankruptcy in Michigan. The main office is conveniently located just one-block from the US Bankruptcy court in downtown Detroit with a satellite office on Woodward in Royal Oak. Feel free to call me anytime at 313-962-4656.