Represent Yourself In Bankruptcy?
Molars, Brakes and Haircuts, Just to Name a Few
I don’t try to fix the brakes on my car. The reasoning behind this policy is simple, I don’t really know anything about fixing brakes, cars, or really anything automotive. Oh sure, I’m a fairly smart fellow, and I could go buy a book at the local auto part store, or even go on-line to the “youtoocanfixbrakes.com” site, and convince myself I’m ready to operate, but in the back of my mind will always be the notion of failure, and the pending head-on collision that would likely follow.
I almost made a list in this post of the lots of thing I cannot do, but I soon realized that the list would go on for a very long time. You see, there’s a ton of things I just can’t do, because there’s a ton of things I’m not qualified to do. Take dentistry for example; sure I could put the vice grips from the garage tool box on a soar molar, but in the long run, that’s probably not a real safe idea. In fact, it would hurt like hell! Though I would save on my dental fees; and hey, anybody can pull a tooth.
One could also look toward a self-help remedy when in need of a haircut. But unless I were mostly bald, and shaving to complete my baldness on a regular basis, likely giving myself a haircut is just going to leave me looking like and imbecile. “But geeze, I’ve been using scissors since I was in preschool, so surely that qualifies me to cut my own hair.”
So it is with this in mind that I get to the point: our right to file bankruptcy is not just putting numbers in boxes. It’s not just listing assets and a stack of credit card bills. Bankruptcy is a legal process which alters, or changes the rights of your creditors. Altering the rights of an industry, specifically the banking industry, is not a simple process, and invoking federal law to do so compounds the difficulty.
I’ve seen folks try to represent themselves in the bankruptcy process, and short of being a CPA with a good dose of legal experience, I can no more imagine how one could possible benefit from doing this, than me doing my own taxes. I see missed required disclosures, assets being exposed to unnecessary risk, failed exemptions, failed discharges that could have been successful, and exposure to further suits, as well as potential charges of fraud and other bankruptcy crimes. Most recently, a fellow in the Bankruptcy Court in Downtown St. Louis MO representing himself, and hence, saving legal expenses of probably less than $1,000, filed his own case and cost himself over $6,000 in assets he didn’t need to lose at all. He’ll also lose his discharge.
The old adage “He Who Represents Himself Has A Fool For A Client” is never more true than in the context of a Bankruptcy. If your thinking Bankruptcy, if you have questions about the applicable law and various options, talk to a professional.
Markwell Law, LLC