When it comes to bankruptcy advice, it seems plenty of people are giving it - but not all of these people are actually qualified to be dispensing the kind of advice that could have such an impact on your credit score, your finances, and your life in general.
Bad Bankruptcy Advice is Everywhere
From the well-meaning but misinformed friend to the piles of misrepresentative articles that are floating around on the World Wide Web, bad bankruptcy advice is almost as common as pop-ups and banner ads. So how can you separate the bad advice from the good?
Simple, use this article as a guide:
- Perhaps a friend told you that you don't need a bankruptcy lawyer, or maybe you think you know enough about bankruptcy to try to file on your own. But if you're about to file for bankruptcy on your own, it's time to take a step back and think this through. Between properly filing the paperwork, showing up for court and dealing with creditors, a bankruptcy attorney can make all the difference between a smooth bankruptcy case - and one that completely destroys your finances.
- On a similar note, many people think it's a great idea to use the services of a "bankruptcy petition preparer" in the belief that they'll save money by avoiding hiring a bankruptcy lawyer. Buyer beware: these so-called petitioner preparers are nothing more than paralegals who have absolutely no legal certifications or background to be handling your bankruptcy case. If you're considering going this route, do yourself - and your finances - a favor: don't.
- A run-of-the-mill bankruptcy attorney may be giving you bad advice in an effort to solicit your business. For example, one consumer watchdog company reported that a bankruptcy attorney was handing out letters proclaiming that Chapter 13 was not bankruptcy, but in fact just another type of repayment plan. Of course, Chapter 13 is a type of bankruptcy that wipes out some debts while allowing you to repay others. If a bankruptcy attorney is leaning too hard to make a sale, steer clear.
- More bad bankruptcy advice comes in the guise of well-meaning friends who may still see bankruptcy as a financial disaster with permanent repercussions. Perhaps they tell you not to file because they mistakenly believe that you'll never recover from it - however, in most bankruptcy cases, the mark on your credit score only lasts for seven to ten years. Additionally, with good financial behavior, you can start taking out loans (albeit at higher interest rates) or credit cards within just a couple of years.
- When it comes to your financial future, don't play around with bad bankruptcy advice - contact a reputable Dallas bankruptcy attorney to see what your real options are.