Must I Have an Attorney?

Must I Have an Attorney?

Bankruptcy is the same in Idaho as it is everywhere else in the United States because it is a power only given to the national government. Sometimes, many feel they can dispense with an attorney because there are plenty of online tools to help file a bankruptcy by themselves.

An individual can file a bankruptcy without an attorney. These “pro se” filings are fairly uncommon. However, I want to give a few warnings if you wish to attempt this route.

Bankruptcies require a great deal of careful attention to detail. The bankruptcy code is complex, there are mathematical equations under the means test, and the law continues to be tweaked and changed. Nuances are throughout the code that require some serious study to find out exactly where your bankruptcy will fit. Do your homework or you will find yourself filing documents over and over again until you get it right. Some mistakes can lead to your case being dismissed. Some amendments to your petitions will cost you money each time you do it.

Even if you plan to file pro se, I highly recommend that you have an attorney review your documents before you file them. The bankruptcy court is not necessarily friendly when it comes to improperly filed or completed forms. The attorney will charge for the review.

Now in hopes that you will reconsider, let me give a few reasons why you will want a lawyer to file your bankruptcy. Good bankruptcy software costs at least $500 if you were to buy it yourself. The better software starts around $1,200. There are some cheaper versions out there, but they are not as effective or time saving. At attorney who regularly deals with bankruptcies will have this software. Since you will not have this software, you will probably have to prepare the documents by hand. The bankruptcy court only takes online filing which means you will have to become registered online in both the pacer and ECF programs for the District of Idaho. You will have to scan and upload all the documents, which typically run at a minimum of around 20 pages. Another part of the software that is invaluable is that it runs all the calculations according to the latest IRS standards and bankruptcy code.

While bankruptcy is national, Idaho law will play a substantial part in your bankruptcy. Most notably are the exemptions of Idaho law. There are other Idaho tweaks to your bankruptcy, but they are pretty few other than the exemptions. Be aware that the IRS tables for Idaho will have a table to play in the means test and make sure you have the right numbers in that equation.
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