When a person or business owes more money than they can afford to pay back, they may elect to file bankruptcy. Bankruptcy can be filed under chapters 7, 9, 11, 12, and 13 according to the Bankruptcy Code. Filing bankruptcy is a lengthy process and bankruptcy forms are complex. When considering filing bankruptcy under any chapter it is wise to consult an attorney due to the complexity of the bankruptcy forms and the potential consequences that may occur if they are improperly completed or filed.
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The necessary bankruptcy forms will vary depending on the case and the chapter filed, but if they are filed incorrectly or only in part, assets can be lost unnecessarily. The laws that govern bankruptcy are also complex adding yet another reason to be thorough before filing.
Initial bankruptcy forms will include the petition, schedules, and a statement of financial affairs. These Official Forms are required to be printed on one side of the paper only and must include a pre-punched set of two holes at the top for securing to a file before review. Certain bankruptcy forms will not be accepted if altered while others may be. Incomplete information on bankruptcy forms or failing to file additional forms relative to your specific case can result in delay, extra cost, or even denial and seizure of assets.
Before completing any initial bankruptcy forms regardless of chapter filed, it is best to have a thorough understanding of the laws that govern the bankruptcy code. Information regarding filing can be found at www.uscourts.gov along with specific forms. However, if you fail to understand or misinterpret any part of the bankruptcy code, the outcome could be worse than the financial situation prior to filing. In addition, certain bankruptcy forms must be filed in specific order and within very specific time frames. While it is by no means necessary to employ an attorney before filing, it is wise to at least consult one.
If you have financial law needs you may need a banking lawyer. Its also important to understand the law when it comes to business in which case a business lawyer can be helpful.