Debtors considering bankruptcy often make the mistake of failing to educate themselves about bankruptcy or failing to hire a knowledgeable and skilled bankruptcy attorney. Just like in other areas of the law, ignorance can mean the difference between success and horrible failure. Most people, in their right mind, will not attempt to represent themselves if they were on trial for murder and facing the death penalty. Most people understand that it's best to hire a criminal law attorney who has helped prove the innocence of other men/women accused of murder.
So why is it that so many debtors believe that they don't need a bankruptcy attorney to help them protect their assets, defend themselves against predatory creditors and help them get a fresh financial start?
While failure in the bankruptcy court will not end in your execution, it could end in a kind of financial death that could set you back for years. The failure to understand and properly use bankruptcy exemptions is a common error of debtors who represent themselves in bankruptcy court. This mistake alone can cause them to lose thousands of dollars worth of property to creditors. And even if the bankruptcy trustee sees the mistake the debtor is making, he/she is not obligated to point the debtor in the right direction.
But the failure to properly protect assets with bankruptcy exemptions is just one of the mistakes that debtors make who fail to hire an attorney. Unfortunately, the most lethal mistake, failing to disclose all assets or asset transfers could send the debtor to prison. Even if the debtor mistakenly hid or transferred assets, the bankruptcy trustee could still dismiss their case without a discharge, fine the debtor and send them to prison. Why take the chance that your lack of knowledge about bankruptcy could send you to prison? When considering bankruptcy at least take the time to consult with a bankruptcy attorney before you try to do it yourself.