Many people considering filing for bankruptcy come across paralegals offering cost-friendly services to assist with the filing process. For just a few hundred dollars, a fraction of the cost of hiring a bankruptcy attorney, a paralegal can prepare and file all the paperwork for you.
Given the financial situation of anyone considering bankruptcy, the idea of a low-cost alternative to an attorney seems too good a deal to turn down. But are you really saving money in the long run by hiring a paralegal to handle your bankruptcy case over a specialized attorney?
Here are 3 reasons why your bankruptcy case should always be handled by an attorney and not a paralegal:
A Paralegal Cannot Give You Legal Advice
Not many people realize that paralegal cannot give out legal advice. It’s strictly against the law, mainly because they are not a qualified attorney, so the only option for legal advice regarding bankruptcy is to hire an attorney.
In contrast, a bankruptcy attorney has attended law school for several years and passed a bar exam. so will know all the various aspects of state and bankruptcy laws, so they’ve certainly earned the right to provide legal advice on the matter.
Given the various complexities of bankruptcy laws, having a qualified professional to give legal advice can be the difference between a success or unsuccessful filing. The knowledge they have of the process is unrivaled to a paralegal, so you can expect to receive the best advice for your situation.
An attorney can advise on bankruptcy options that are available, let you know about possible exemptions to protect your assets, what assets can and cannot be protected, what debts could be discharged, what creditors to pay first and much more.
A Paralegal Cannot Represent You in Court
Not only can a paralegal not give you legal advice, they cannot represent you in court, meaning you’re on your own when it comes to arguing your case in court. As you can imagine, this rarely works out well for the individual applying – less than 2% of people filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy are approved in court compared to over 60% represented by an attorney.
Simply put, if you want to have any chance of a successful filing for a repayment plan and the discharge of debts, you’re going to need professional representation.
An Attorney Helps Throughout the Bankruptcy
A paralegal can write up the court documents and file them on your behalf, after which they can’t do anything to help you during the bankruptcy process.
An attorney on the other hand, provides expert advice throughout the entirety of the filing.
They will complete all appropriate paperwork, which is one of the most complex process of filing, ensuring all info on your debts, assets, expenses, and transactions are accurate – mess up doing these yourself and you are at risk of perjury.
Moreover, they will help prepare for the case when it arrives. They’ll explain the roles of everyone involved, ensure you provide an accurate testimony, negotiate with creditors on your behalf, and request adjustments to repayment plans.
The Travis Law Firm provides professional legal representation for Chapter 7 & Chapter 13 bankruptcy services for residents of all cities in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. We have offices in Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, Temecula, Cathedral City and Ontario for the convenience of our Inland Empire, High Desert, and Coachella Valley clients. For more information about our bankruptcy law services and other legal representation, call us today at 1-800-BANKRUPT or (951) 274-9501.