Today’s technological advances make it possible for all of us to do many things online that would have been impossible in the past. But while it may be “cool” to stay in touch with relatives via email and social networking, there are some things you simply don’t want to do online and without the help of a professional, such as filing bankruptcy. Filing bankruptcy online is just another way of filing bankruptcy without the valuable assistance of a bankruptcy attorney. Many people are short on cash and figure that an online bankruptcy filing will cost less and give just as much value as working with a bankruptcy attorney; but that assumption couldn’t be further from the truth. The truth is that filing your bankruptcy online and without the help of an attorney could actually be very costly and here’s why:
- The average bankruptcy case requires a debtor to fill out over 30 different documents. These documents are written using legal terminology that even the most educated people are not familiar with unless they have a legal background. The lack of familiarity with the language used in bankruptcy documents can cause the debtor to make mistakes or misunderstand what is being asked of them. Imagine spending two or three days just to fill out paperwork that a professional who is experienced with bankruptcy could do in just a few hours.
- Because most debtors, even the most educated, do not have an understanding of the legal terminology used in bankruptcy papers, there is an increased chance that they will make mistakes. These mistakes could cause the bankruptcy trustee or creditors in the case to challenge their bankruptcy discharge or even cause the case to be dismissed.
- Debtors who use online bankruptcy filing services do not have the knowledge and expertise of a bankruptcy attorney to fight challenges brought by the bankruptcy trustee or creditors. Remember, the bankruptcy trustee is there to make sure that creditors get paid; they are not there to educate pro se debtors. Bankruptcy trustees will not tell the debtor what exemptions they have access to nor will they tell the debtor how to properly handle challenges in their case. Only a qualified bankruptcy attorney will be willing to come to your defense during the bankruptcy proceedings.