With an increase of financial troubles plaguing more Americans, a brand new batch of do-it-yourself (D.I.Y) bankruptcy companies have sprung up online. Many debtors are attracted to these D.I.Y bankruptcy services because they believe that they will save money and time and that the seemingly simple online fill-in-the-blank online bankruptcy forms will make their bankruptcy process easier. That couldn't be farther from the truth.
Risks of Filing a D.I.Y Bankruptcy
Below are a few things debtors should know about the risks of filing a D.I.Y bankruptcy online or offline:
- While do-it-yourself bankruptcy mills seem deceptively cheap, the truth is that they can cost you in the long-term. Because a layman does not fully understand all of the ways bankruptcy can protect their assets and future income and because D.I.Y bankruptcy mills do not have the resources to provide this information, many D.I.Y bankruptcy filers miss out on thousands of dollars in exemptions. Losing out on exemptions means that these debtors will pay more to their creditors than they would have if they were working with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.
- The lack of experience and knowledge makes D.I.Y bankruptcy filers more vulnerable to making mistakes. Unfortunately for the D.I.Y bankruptcy filers, lack of knowledge is not a defense in the eyes of the law. There have been many recorded cases of bankruptcy filers who ended up making mistakes that landed them in jail because they failed to work with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.
- When a debtor decides to file bankruptcy without the help of a bankruptcy attorney they are entering the ring without a team. The bankruptcy trustee is there to protect the interests of the creditors. If a debtor overlooks something or does something that will cause the debtor to lose money, the bankruptcy trustee is not responsible for educating that debtor. Also, many times creditors misbehave during bankruptcy, violating the automatic stay and filing inaccurate claims. With no bankruptcy attorney to fight on their behalf D.I.Y bankruptcy filers are vulnerable to much more experienced parties in the bankruptcy case who are not looking out for the debtor's best interests.