Filing bankruptcy is a serious matter. The decisions you make regarding your case could have long-term implications for your finances. Paralegal services and non-attorney bankruptcy petition preparers charge minimal fees to prepare bankruptcy forms. However, only a Georgia bankruptcy attorney can represent you in court and advocate on your behalf to the judge, the bankruptcy trustee, and your creditors.
Three Reasons You Need To Hire A Bankruptcy Attorney Instead Of A Paralegal
Before you pay a paralegal to prepare your bankruptcy petition, schedules, and statements, consider these three reasons to hire a bankruptcy lawyer:
Paralegals Cannot Give You Legal Advice
A paralegal is not a lawyer. They have not passed the bar examination and are not authorized to practice law. Therefore, they are prohibited from giving you legal advice about bankruptcy laws.
Bankruptcy attorneys attended law school and passed the bar exam. They know and understand bankruptcy laws, which can be confusing and complicated. A bankruptcy lawyer analyzes your case to determine if problems or issues could arise during the bankruptcy. Your attorney assesses your assets to determine if bankruptcy exemptions protect them so you can keep your property.
A paralegal can only fill in the information on the bankruptcy forms. They cannot advise you about your bankruptcy options and other debt-relief options.
A Paralegal Could Cause You Serious Financial Harm
Bankruptcy attorneys spend years learning bankruptcy laws and procedures. They understand the potential consequences of filing a bankruptcy case. Once you file a bankruptcy case, it might be difficult or impossible to “undo” the filing. If you act on incorrect information, you may not be able to avoid the negative consequences.
Paralegals cannot help you with decisions related to:
- Which type of bankruptcy is best for your situation
- How to comply with the Means Test to qualify for a Chapter 7 case or determine disposable income for a Chapter 13 case
- What creditors you must include in a bankruptcy filing
- Income that might be excluded from the Means Test
- Your duties and responsibilities as a debtor
- How to interpret and calculate legal deadlines
- Filing various motions to value collateral, void a lien, or incur debt
- Choose the correct bankruptcy exemptions to protect property
- How to handle preferential payments to family and friends
- The impact of property transfers before filing bankruptcy
- The priority of specific debts
- Whether a debt is eligible for a discharge
Many more issues could pose problems if you do not have competent bankruptcy advice. The court could dismiss your bankruptcy case, family members could be sued for transfers or payments, you might not discharge some debts, or you could lose some property.
Bankruptcy Lawyers Understand Unusual Situations
Each bankruptcy case is unique. Some bankruptcy cases involve unusual circumstances. A paralegal may not be familiar with all issues and situations that can arise in a bankruptcy case.
For example, a creditor might file a motion to modify the automatic stay asking the judge for permission to take your property, or the trustee might accuse you of bankruptcy fraud. However, a bankruptcy lawyer has already analyzed your case and identified potential problems so that he is ready to address the situation proactively to minimize risks.
Contact Our Office For A Free Consultation With A Georgia Bankruptcy Attorney
Struggling with debts can be stressful and overwhelming. Filing for bankruptcy relief can help you get rid of debts and get a fresh start. Contact us to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Georgia bankruptcy attorney.