Many people file bankruptcy pro se, which means they file without a lawyer and represent themselves. While I and most bankruptcy attorneys advise against this, it is the law that any person can represent herself in any court. Note that you can’t represent your company if you’ve incorporated or formed an LLC, even if you are the sole owner. You can only represent yourself as an individual. A married couple can file bankruptcy pro se, but in that case each is representing himself or herself, and not the other party.
Because many people want to save the cost of attorneys’ fees and file pro se, today we begin a weekly series of posts on how to do that.
What You Must File
There are a number of documents that must be filed to start and complete a bankruptcy. Most of these documents must be on the official forms prescribed by the Bankruptcy Code and the rules thereunder. These are the forms that must be filed:
Petition, together with the certificate of completion of a pre-filing consumer counseling course
Statement of Social Security Number
List of creditors (matrix)
Bankruptcy Schedules A-J
Statement of Financial Affairs
Statement of Current Monthly Income
Statement of Intent regarding debts secured by property
Timing of Filing
Usually all of the above documents are filed together. If there is reason to file immediately, you can make a skeleton filing where you file only the Petition (with the certificate) and Statement of Social Security Number. Within two days after filing the petition you must file the List of Creditors. The remainder of the documents must be filed within 15 days of filing the Petition, with the exception of the Statement of Intent, which must be filed within 30 days of filing the Petition.
In future posts, we’ll cover how to complete each of the official forms that have to be filed.
If you need help filing bankruptcy, please contact us.