Many low income individuals who are desperately crushed by their outstanding debt avoid filing for bankruptcy because they are worried about its cost. Although completing a bankruptcy case can be costly, what these individuals often do not realize is that it is cheaper in the long run than continuing to put the bulk of one’s paycheck toward payments, often watching their debt compound and grow despite making an honest effort to pay it down.
Not only can bankruptcy be used to financially free oneself from debt, it also does not have to be expensive. A new program called Upsolve is currently making bankruptcy accessible for low income filers in Maine. This program, created by a New York lawyer who has worked as a clerk in bankruptcy courts and a college senior, works similarly to a computer-based tax preparation program. It helps the filer gather the documents and information he or she needs from online sources and makes it easy to submit these documents with a bankruptcy petition.
Helping the Bankruptcy Filers who Need the Most Help
According to a representative of the Maine Volunteer Lawyers Project, a nonprofit currently determining whether Upsolve can help it to help its clients, those who can benefit most from the program are the working poor, individuals who live paycheck to paycheck and can have their entire budgets wiped out by financial events like layoffs and medical bills. These individuals, who often have few assets, are likely to avoid pursuing help through bankruptcy because of its perceived cost and the stigma associated with it.
Filing as an Individual versus Filing for Bankruptcy with a Lawyer
Although Upsolve is helping low income individuals file for bankruptcy without help from lawyers, going pro se is not the right choice for everybody. It is meant for individuals with relatively simple cases who are seeking Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
If your case is more complex, such as a Chapter 13 case or one with unique circumstances, it is in your best interest to work with a lawyer. Even if your case seems fairly straightforward, a lawyer can make your bankruptcy case as painless for you as possible by acting as a liaison between you, your creditors, and the court. Your lawyer can help you prepare for the meetings you need to attend as a filer and make sure your case does not violate bankruptcy law, which can potentially result in it being thrown out.
Work with an Experienced Fox River Grove Bankruptcy Attorney
If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, you cannot do too much preliminary research. Although you might be able to get through the process just fine without an attorney’s help, working with a bankruptcy attorney offers many advantages and can increase your chance of completing the process smoothly. To learn more, schedule your initial consultation with a member of our team of experienced bankruptcy lawyers at Newland & Newland, LLP today. We serve clients in the Arlington Heights, Palatine, Rolling Meadows, Libertyville, Mundelein, Buffalo Grove, Schaumburg, Elk Grove, and Itasca areas.
(image courtesy of Allef Vinicius)