New Yorkers who have debt problems regularly don’t have enough money to pay a bankruptcy attorney. There’s a strong incentive to cut costs as much as possible, and one way to accomplish this, they’re told, is to hire a bankruptcy petition preparer. There are many reasons to steer clear of these folks.
Primarily, bankruptcy petition preparers are forbidden from giving any kind of legal advice. Lawyers, on the other hand, know the legal ramifications of their clients’ circumstances, which can influence their advice on which chapter to file in or which exemptions to choose, for example. These fundamental and critical issues are the precise ones bankruptcy petitioners are barred from discussing with debtors. Because they aren’t lawyers, bar authorities closely monitor petition preparers to ensure they aren’t engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.
Similarly, bankruptcy lawyers are also knowledgeable about non-legal information debtors need to know about, even if they don’t ask. One big example is the tax implications of filing bankruptcy. Petition preparers don’t need to know this kind of information. They also might not be as good at maintaining their clients’ confidential information.
The bankruptcy code devotes an entire section to bankruptcy petitioners, including remedies for when prepares make errors. Indeed, as far as the U.S. Trustees Office is concerned, all bankruptcy petition preparers can do is type up documents for a reasonable fee. If you have the time, you could do their job at the local public library and save yourself the money.
Petition preparers aren’t the “lawyer-lite” that you’re meant to think they are. There is no alternative to an experienced New York bankruptcy lawyer handling your case.
For more questions about bankruptcy, the automatic stay, effective strategies for dealing with foreclosure, and protecting your assets in bankruptcy please feel free to contact experienced bankruptcy lawyer Brooklyn NY Bruce Weiner for a free initial consultation.