In a pro se bankruptcy you may choose the services of a non attorney petition preparer. This is a sample of the disclosure they must provide before any services are performed.
[Must be filed with any document(s) prepared by a bankruptcy petition preparer.]
I am a bankruptcy non attorney petition preparer. I am not an attorney and may not practice law or give legal advice.
Before preparing any document for filing as defined in § 110(a)(2) of the Bankruptcy Code or accepting any fees, I am required by law to provide you with this notice concerning bankruptcy petition preparers. Under the law, § 110 of the Bankruptcy Code (11 U.S.C. § 110), I am forbidden to offer you any legal advice, including advice about any of the following:
• whether to file a petition under the Bankruptcy Code (11 U.S.C. § 101 et seq.);
• whether commencing a case under chapter 7, 11, 12, or 13 is appropriate;
• whether your debts will be eliminated or discharged in a case under the Bankruptcy Code;
• whether you will be able to retain your home, car, or other property after commencing a case under the Bankruptcy Code;
• the tax consequences of a case brought under the Bankruptcy Code;
• the dischargeability of tax claims;
• whether you may or should promise to repay debts to a creditor or enter into a reaffirmation agreement with a creditor to reaffirm a debt;
• how to characterize the nature of your interests in property or your debts; or
• bankruptcy procedures and rights.
[The notice may provide additional examples of legal advice that a bankruptcy petition preparer is not authorized to give.] In addition, under 11 U.S.C. § 110(h), the Supreme Court or the Judicial Conference of the United States may promulgate rules or guidelines setting a maximum allowable fee chargeable by a bankruptcy petition preparer.
required by law, I have notified you of this maximum allowable fee, if
any, before preparing any document for filing or accepting any fee from
Signature of Debtor, Date, Joint Debtor (if any) Date [In a joint case, both spouses must sign.]
This should be the first statement received by the non attorney petition preparer.
UNITED STATES BANKRUPTCY COURT NOTICE TO CONSUMER DEBTOR(S) UNDER §342(b)OF THE BANKRUPTCY CODE
In accordance with § 342(b) of the Bankruptcy Code, this notice to individuals with primarily consumer debts:
(1) Describes briefly the services available from credit counseling services;
(2) Describes briefly the purposes, benefits and costs of the four types of bankruptcy proceedings you may commence; and
Informs you about bankruptcy crimes and notifies you that the Attorney
General may examine all information you supply in connection with a
You are cautioned that bankruptcy law is complicated and not easily described. Thus, you may wish to seek the advice of an attorney to learn of your rights and responsibilities should you decide to file a petition.
Court employees cannot give
you legal advice. Notices from the bankruptcy court are sent to the
mailing address you list on your bankruptcy petition. In order to ensure
that you receive information about events concerning your case,
Bankruptcy Rule 4002 requires that you notify the court of any changes
in your address.
If you are filing a joint case (a single bankruptcy case for two individuals married to each other), and each spouse lists the same mailing address on the bankruptcy petition, you and your spouse will generally receive a single copy of each notice mailed from the bankruptcy court in a jointly addressed envelope, unless you file a statement with the court requesting that each spouse receive a separate copy of all notices.
This is the 2nd statement of a broad view of what to expect in bankruptcy supplied by the non attorney petition preparer.
1. Services Available from Credit Counseling Agencies With limited exceptions, § 109(h) of the Bankruptcy Code requires that all individual debtors who file for bankruptcy relief on or after October 17, 2005, receive a briefing that outlines the available opportunities for credit counseling and provides assistance in performing a budget analysis.
(The two non profit courses now required in bankruptcy proceedings . The non attorney petition preparer should have lists of approved agencies for both of these.)
2. The Four Chapters of the Bankruptcy Code Available to Individual Consumer Debtors
This most likely will be the 3rd statement from the non attorney petition preparer
Chapter 7: Liquidation ($245 filing fee, $39 administrative fee, $15 trustee surcharge: Total fee $299)
Chapter 7 is designed for debtors in financial difficulty who do not have the ability to pay their existing debts.
Chapter 13: Repayment of All or Part of the Debts of an Individual with Regular Income ($235 filing fee, $39 administrative fee: Total fee $274)
Chapter 13 is designed for individuals with regular income who would like to pay all or part of their debts in installments over a period of time. You are only eligible for chapter 13 if your debts do not exceed certain dollar amounts set forth in the Bankruptcy Code.
Chapter 11: Reorganization ($1000 filing fee, $39 administrative fee: Total fee $1039)
Chapter 12: Family Farmer or Fisherman ($200 filing fee, $39 administrative fee: Total fee $239)
The last and most foreboding of the statements from the non attorney petition preparer.
3. Bankruptcy Crimes and Availability of Bankruptcy Papers to Law Enforcement Officials
A person who knowingly and fraudulently conceals assets or makes a false oath or statement under penalty of perjury, either orally or in writing, in connection with a bankruptcy case is subject to a fine, imprisonment, or both.
All information supplied by a debtor in connection with a bankruptcy case is subject to examination by the Attorney General acting through the Office of the United States Trustee, the Office of the United States Attorney, and other components and employees of the Department of Justice.
WARNING: Section 521(a)(1) of the Bankruptcy Code requires that you promptly file detailed information regarding your creditors, assets, liabilities, income, expenses and general financial condition.
Your bankruptcy case may be dismissed if this information is not filed with the court within the time deadlines set by the Bankruptcy Code, the Bankruptcy Rules, and the local rules of the court.
The documents and the deadlines for filing them are listed on Form B200, which is posted athttp://www.uscourts.gov/bkforms/bankruptcy_forms.html#procedure.
filing deadlines change on December 1, 2009. Of special note, 12 rules
that set 15 days to act are amended to require action within 14 days,
including Rule 1007(c), filing the initial case papers; Rule 3015(b),
filing a chapter 13 plan; Rule 8009(a), filing appellate briefs; and
Rules 1019, 1020, 2015, 2015.1, 2016, 4001, 4002, 6004, and 6007.
Reading over this material in the non attorney petition preparer disclosure will give a general outline of the bankruptcy process and some of the basic cautions needed when deciding on pro se bankruptcy. It does seem to be written in a way that if this is your first experience with bankruptcy that it will confuse you and raise apprehension. Which will direct you immediately to an attorney. Can't help thinking that is the intended purpose!
If your preparer is working within the law they will not advise you on the legal aspects of bankruptcy of which they are not qualified to do.
This disclosure is to help those realize that if their bankruptcy isn't clear cut they most likely need the services of an attorney. This will help those in a difficult situation not make any rash decisions.
The bankruptcy court in your area will have most information needed to properly file your case.