Can I File Bankruptcy Without an Attorney?

Filing bankruptcy without a lawyer requires considerable collection of documents. While there are DIY kits that describe the documents and procedures necessary to declare bankruptcy, many experts point out the potential loss that can occur when a person undertakes such a serious procedure.

The obvious benefit of filing bankruptcy without a lawyer is the lowest cost. According to the website of the US Courts A fee of $ 299 is charged to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the most common form of personal bankruptcy. The fee for filing a Chapter 13 case is $ 274. In general, attorneys' fees for bankruptcy cases can vary from $ 1,000 to $ 2,500, in addition to court fees. Chapter 7 is generally easier to handle for an individual without the guidance of a lawyer. Chapter 13 requires the debtor to pay the creditors through a court-ordered payment plan for several years.

Collection of bankruptcy documents on your own

In both types of bankruptcy, the debtor must gather a large amount of documents, such as credit card slips, mortgage documents, proof of income from all sources, car loan payments, medical bills, any document that describes your situation and the status of your property and other assets. According to, the list of creditors must include the name of each creditor, the contact information, the account number and the balance owed. In addition, the debtor must compile a list of expenses that includes the daily costs of home, daycare, utilities and other housing costs.

Obtaining bankruptcy documents

Bankruptcy forms and instructions can be obtained online or through the nearest federal court. "The instructions will inform you what can be included in the bankruptcy, what items are exempt and any additional information that must be provided," the website indicates. "Make sure the documentation has all the signatures and acknowledgments, if necessary." When completing the forms, you should make two copies of the documentation of your files.

Debtors who submit their own applications must also complete a credit management course, usually in two installments that cost around $ 30 each, as part of the bankruptcy process. They must also attend the 341 meeting before a bankruptcy trustee in court.