Should I Use A Bankruptcy Petition Preparer Or Hire An Experienced Denver, Colorado Bankruptcy Attorney?
Wondering if you should use a bankruptcy petition preparer to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
I’m just going to put it out there: you don’t need an attorney to file bankruptcy. You can go to the website for the Colorado Bankruptcy Court and find pretty much all the information you need to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition. Here’s the link. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you can probably navigate the process yourself. The helpful staff at the court will generally let you know if you’ve forgotten to include anything.
What Is A Bankruptcy Petition Preparer?
Another option if you don’t think you need an attorney to represent you is to hire someone that the Bankruptcy Code calls a “bankruptcy petition preparer,” or BPP. For a relatively modest fee (definitely lower than a lawyer), a BPP will take all of the information you provide and create your petition. From there, you’re on your own. You’ll have to take the petition down to the court and file it and then appear at the meeting of creditors by yourself as well as respond to any requests from your creditors or the trustee. You can usually find plenty of BPPs on craigslist or backpage.
What A Bankruptcy Petition Preparer Cannot Do
Understand, though, that there is a lot you won’t find on the court’s website or hear when you talk to a BPP. BPPs cannot provide legal advice. They cannot tell you which exemptions are available to you. They cannot tell you how bankruptcy might help you avoid foreclosure. And they can’t tell you how your bankruptcy might affect any co-signers you have. All they can do is take the information you give them and plug it into forms used by the bankruptcy court. Neither the website or the BPP will tell you what to do when the trustee wants you to turnover your tax refund or another piece of property that isn’t protected by the exemption rules. A BPP can’t tell you how to respond to a request for a 2004 examination or what to do when a creditor files an adversarial proceeding. You won’t be able to ask a BPP whether or not you should sign a reaffirmation agreement with your mortgage lender.
Of course, there are other things that a bankruptcy petition preparer cannot do. They cannot answer your calls and emails about the bankruptcy process. They can’t take calls from creditors and debt collectors to tell them that you are filing bankruptcy and should stop contacting you. They can’t go with you to your meeting with the trustee and speak up if there is any miscommunication between you and the trustee. They can’t prepare you for your meeting with the trustee, either.
There’s only one person who can handle the entire bankruptcy process, from completing your petition to responding to the trustee or the court and provide legal advice: an attorney. Of course, you’ll have to pay more. The trade off may just be worth it. In return, you’ll get peace of mind. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can make the process as stress-free as possible.
Talk To An Experienced Denver, Colorado Bankruptcy Attorney To See If Bankruptcy Is Right For You
If you’re wondering whether or not you should hire an attorney instead of a bankruptcy petition preparer, we offer free, no-obligation consultations with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. During your consultation you’ll have the chance to ask all the questions you have about the bankruptcy process. You can schedule an appointment online or call 303.331.3403 to set up a time that’s convenient for you.