Can I file bankruptcy for free?
The true answer is that you may be able to file your bankruptcy yourself, but, that may not be the best solution to your problem. You can also pull your own teeth, cut your own hair, and even perform minor surgical operations on yourself if you choose. It’s all possible, but it’s not always the best idea.
If you’re searching for information on how to file bankruptcy for free, I’ll assume that you probably feel like you can’t afford to pay an attorney to file a bankruptcy for you. After all, if you had the money for a bankruptcy attorney you probably wouldn’t need to file bankruptcy would you?
I get it. I’ve been helping people find ways to afford to jumpstart their financial recovery by filing bankruptcy for almost 30 years. The fact of the matter is, in almost all cases I can actually help you find the money that you need to file bankruptcy. In most cases, it simply comes from not paying any of the debts that you’re going to discharge in the bankruptcy anyway. There are other ways.
People looking for free bankruptcy information are often tempted to go with the cheapest attorney that they can find. In fact, we regularly get calls at my office that begin with, “How much is it to file chapter 7?”
If you are looking for the cheapest attorney, beware! The cheapest attorney can turn out to be the most expensive attorney in the long run.
Poor quality legal representation, the wrong solution for your needs, bad advice, sometimes motivated by the attorney’s own financial needs to get clients and pay his own bills – often result in someone filing bankruptcy doesn’t really need to, filing the wrong kind of bankruptcy, and not actually achieving the kind of financial recovery that bankruptcy promises – but bankruptcy alone does not deliver.
Sometimes, looking for free bankruptcy information begins with the assumption that a person needs a bankruptcy in the first place. In my experience, and 30% of the situations that I see, this is not even true.
Regularly, I show folks how to achieve financial stability and even improve their finances without filing bankruptcy. And these are people who came to see me convinced, 100% for sure, but they needed a bankruptcy in order to overcome their current financial problems.
Before deciding that you need a bankruptcy, free or otherwise, my suggestion is to step back a minute and look at all your options. This means looking at non-bankruptcy options as well as bankruptcy options. In order to do this, the conventional approach is to start with a visit to a credit counselor who can explore non-bankruptcy options such as debt management programs, credit counseling, and a debt consolidation loans. The problem with credit counselors is that they are not bankruptcy attorneys and cannot give legal advice. So, you’re only going to get part of your answer from a credit counselor.
Next, you’re going to want to visit a reputable, experienced, preferably board-certified bankruptcy attorney. The bankruptcy attorney will be able to outline your bankruptcy options. Unfortunately, unless this bankruptcy attorney also happens to be a certified credit counselor, he or she will not be able to give you any advice with respect to the non-bankruptcy options that you have. And, for this reason, you’re not really going to be able to get a good comparison of your non-bankruptcy options and bankruptcy options from either a bankruptcy attorney or credit counselor.
The better way to approach this is to talk to someone who is both a certified credit counselor and a board certified bankruptcy specialist. This commonsense approach should yield information that you need to make the right choice.
Sadly, I see lots of folks diagnosing their own financial needs, deciding that a chapter 7 bankruptcy is the right and best answer, and then setting out to find the cheapest bankruptcy attorney that they can. In many cases, this is a quick fix, a Band-Aid, a shortsighted approach that keeps these folks in debt because they never have any follow-up, no assistance in rebuilding their credit, no advice on what to do to fix their credit reports. In many cases it’s a recipe for continuous cycle of debt problems. And this, of course, assumes that they really needed a bankruptcy in the first place.
The truth is there’s no free lunch and there’s probably no free bankruptcy worth having. You get what you pay for.
I’ve been very successful over the years helping my clients find ways to afford our services. Admittedly I am not the cheapest, but the results that you will get from taking the proper approach, with the proper advice and follow-up in all of the areas of your financial recovery, not just the debt but also the credit thereafter, will last a lifetime. And this will save you thousands and thousands of dollars in interest. In fact, by taking all the proper steps – in addition to the bankruptcy – our clients generally save between $5,890 and $9,700 per automobile that they purchase, just by having a better credit score.