Bankruptcy Petition Preparers vs. Bankruptcy Lawyers

The difference between what a bankruptcy lawyer and a bankruptcy petition preparer can do

Commonly Asked Question About Hiring a Bankruptcy Petition Preparer

“I need to file for bankruptcy, but someone told me that I don’t need a lawyer to do that. I was told that I could just see a bankruptcy petition preparer and save myself some money. I really need to file before things get worse, and I sort of understand what’s going on, but at the same time I don’t want to mess up something this important. Can you tell me what’s different between a petition preparer and what a lawyer does?”

Answer From Our Bankruptcy Lawyer

“I’m really sorry that you’re in a jam, and want to explain what a petition preparer does before I tell you what a bankruptcy attorney does. Petition preparers do just that – they prepare paperwork for filing. This service doesn’t include advice, which means that you have to know the legal impacts of the provided documents as well as any potential omitted information.”

More Facts About Hiring a Bankruptcy Petition Preparer

According to the US Trustee, they can’t offer you advice, tell you what chapter you need to file, what property is exempt, or even if filing for bankruptcy is the right thing to do in the first place. They are not qualified to do so, and indeed it’s against the law for them to do anything that could be construed as the practice of law. They are essentially entering data. It’s like asking a DMV clerk to replace the transmission on your car. Worse, some of these preparers can run you right into trouble, with serious legal ramifications for preparer and filer alike. There are penalties under the US Code for those who negligently or fraudulently prepare bankruptcy petitions. In fact, they can’t even tell you if bankruptcy is right for you, or if you even qualify.

Even a Straightforward Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, is a Complex Procedure

In some cases, you might not even need to file for bankruptcy in the first place! Bankruptcy attorneys spend a significant portion of their practice hours dealing with bankruptcies and people in deep financial troubles. We understand the law front to back, and not just the federal statutes, but the local Florida laws as well. A bankruptcy attorney can tell you if you need to file for Chapter 7, Chapter 11, or Chapter 13. There’s even a special Chapter 12 bankruptcy just for farmers.

We Can Help You See What’s Right For You, and Help You Get Back on Track

Most importantly, a consultation at Van Horn Law Group can tell you if you really need to take this step at all, or if other remedies would be better for you. We prepare all the paperwork and file the case, represent you at all hearings, and provide you with legal advice from front to back.

You might want to save money now, but sometimes there are things that you need to spend money on now to save on major hassles later. If you’re in enough of a jam that you are considering filing bankruptcy, you really need to talk to our bankruptcy attorney for a free consultation.