Friday, December 16, 2011

Illinois Debtors Should Ensure That Bankruptcy Petitions Are Prepared Legally

Our Oak Park bankruptcy lawyers know that filing for bankruptcy has become a reality for many Chicagoland residents who decide it is necessary as a last resort.  Bankruptcy is a legal procedure for dealing with consumer and/or business debt and is typically a one-time event for most people.  If you are not familiar with the process, it can sometimes seem overwhelming.  Many debtors worry that their situation is hopeless, but, thankfully, that is not true. 

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, one of the most important things is to make sure you are completing all of your paperwork legally and above-board.  For example, as Delmarva Now News reports, someone who is not a lawyer (or who does not work for a lawyer) who prepares bankruptcy petitions for a fee and does not sign the petitions is violating federal law.  A bankruptcy petition is the official document that a debtor or creditor files to start a bankruptcy case.  It is legal for a non-lawyer to prepare bankruptcy petitions for a fee.  However, those preparers must sign the petition as well as other documents that must accompany the petition.  Bankruptcy petition preparers must also make significant written disclosures to the debtors they assist and provide those debtors with a written contract.  All of these requirements are essential to making sure your bankruptcy documents are prepared in accordance with Illinois bankruptcy law.

On the other hand, bankruptcy petition preparers who are not lawyers may not provide legal advice.  Changes to U.S. bankruptcy law frequently occur, so you should seriously consider consulting a legal professional to help you with your case.  A professional well versed in Illinois bankruptcy law can help assist you in answering many of the important questions you are sure to have if you are considering filing for bankruptcy.  For example, you might wonder what assets, if any, you can keep after filing for bankruptcy.  You may also be unsure whether you should even file for bankruptcy or may need to know what type of bankruptcy to file. 

While it can be tempting to cut corners, doing so could have serious, long-term consequences for you, your business, or your family.  If a problem arises with your bankruptcy petition, and you did not seek the help of a bankruptcy lawyer a debtor could be on his or her own.  This is because a bankruptcy petition preparer cannot represent a debtor, even at a creditors meeting.  If the petition is not prepared properly, it can result in the debtor’s case being dismissed or in a delay in the proceedings.  Debtors may also have to repay filing fees, which can add up if you are concerned about finances.

Our Oak Park bankruptcy attorneys work with clients to best meet their needs.  We realize that financial troubles can often seem overwhelming and that it can be difficult to admit you need help.  In these tough economic times, our lawyers will do everything they can to help you consider all of your options.  For a confidential bankruptcy consultation with the Emerson Law Firm, please call our office at 708-660-9190 or visit us online.

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1 comment:

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