Archive for March, 2021

Cost of Filing Bankruptcy Using Attorney – Why Debtors Can Better Afford Bankruptcy Without Attorney

March 10th, 2021

Bankruptcy Petition Preparer.

Under the current U.S. Bankruptcy Code or law, the system provides essentially TWO basic categories of outside assistance that a debtor filing for bankruptcy may use – assistance provided by an attorney, and assistance provided by a non-lawyer. And both of these parties come under what is called “Debt Relief Agents or Agencies.” Basically, the non-attorney assistance provider, who also goes by a name such as Bankruptcy Petition Preparer (BPP), preparers the documents upon which bankruptcy is filed with the Court for bankruptcy processing, while the attorney (or, more accurately, the help he hires that does such work) prepares the same set of documents, EXCEPT that the lawyer assistance-provider can supposedly give a debtor “legal advice,” and can appear, on the debtor’s behalf, in the administrative hearing on the bankruptcy case administered by the Court “Trustee” (who is not a Judge, but a court-appointed administrator) that will oversee the bankruptcy case.

Alright, How Do the Services and Fees Compare, Between the Bankruptcy Attorney and those of the Full Service bankruptcy petition preparer?

But what are the Costs of filing Bankruptcy using Bankruptcy attorney? Can debtors afford bankruptcy without lawyers? And, is there really any real, tangible, legitimate difference for the DEBTOR, both qualitatively and nominally, between the Full Service bankruptcy assistance that online-based non-attorney BPP agencies provide debtors, and that which is provided by online bankruptcy attorneys to debtors?

One view of it, popular in certain quarters among non-attorney online providers of bankruptcy filing assistance, is simply that there is “no difference,” or “little to none,” in terms of the actual or qualitative value of their work products for the debtor. The principal argument is that for each side, the actual, principal work that each side does or turns up for the debtor – the relatively simple but time-consuming, paperwork required to be prepared for the debtor’s use in filing for bankruptcy – is more or less basically the same content and quality for the non-lawyer prepared document, as it is for the lawyer prepared. In each case, the argument goes, the same set of documents are turned up by people who are seemingly experienced and trained or skilled in document preparation, and, in deed, in many real instances, are one and the same paralegals who work, or might have previously worked, for the bankruptcy lawyer’s office or the non-lawyer document preparer’s company. Or for both.

But, in any event, in the final analysis, the finished bankruptcy documents that both sides, the lawyer as well as the non-lawyer, provide the debtor, are generally the same and of the same quality. The Bankruptcy Courts generally accept them, process them, and act on them, just the same! In deed, it is a specific provision in the Bankruptcy Code that authorizes and sanctions that such persons may prepare such documents, and not just lawyers!

The Prices the non-attorney helper charges and what the attorney charges for Bankruptcy work

To a hard pressed and destitute debtor, the vexing, bothersome issue, is what justification, then, is there for the great disparity that exists in the prices the bankruptcy lawyers charge for bankruptcy work, relative to what the non-attorney bankruptcy document preparers charge for turning up essentially the same work for the debtor? Bankruptcy lawyers would, of course, advance all sorts of convoluted arguments and conceive all kinds of fancy justifications in defense of their extremely higher and disproportionate charges. That aspect, however, is a matter for another place and another day for us.

But is it a matter of no bankruptcy attorney, and cheap, low-low cost bankruptcy? For the benefit and information of debtors contemplating bankruptcy, just so you’ll at least have an idea, here are the differences in prices between what the non-lawyer assistance-provider charges, and what the attorney assistance-provider charges.

NON-ATTORNEY BANKRUPTCY HELPER’S SERVICES & PRICES

Service: In full Service bankruptcy work, the service of the non-lawyer debt relief agent or agency basically involves their staff gathering the various documents and required tons of papers and information together, and orderly arranging them and preparing all the legal forms and paperwork required by the debtor to file for bankruptcy with the bankruptcy court. For the better ones among them (they are not at all equal, some are far better than others, and quite a number of them are just about worthless!), these agencies use workers who are often highly trained and experienced paralegals (they average several years of work and/or training in the industry), and who are skilled at the preparation of legal documents and bankruptcy papers, and are often well versed and knowledgeable in bankruptcy filing law and procedures. With the Full Service bankruptcy petition preparers (at least those of them who are of the reputable and better categories), the debtor tends generally to get a better service and greater attention, and more one-on-one interaction for his or her case, along with the obvious far lower prices.

The Charges. There is usually a ONE-Time PAYMENT ONLY amount. One of such agency’s charge, for example, is $239 for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy; and $359 for Chapter 13. The price charged by these agencies tend strictly to follow an honest, upfront pricing that’s based ONLY on “per project,” rather than on “per hour.” (That’s in contrast to the attorneys’ charges, which are frequently based on “per hour” hourly rate).

This means that, once a reputable Bankruptcy Petition Preparer (BPP) takes any case from a debtor, you pay the BPP Agency, assuming it’s, say, a Chapter 7 case, just $239, and NOT a penny more on it, ever – no matter how many creditors you have (whether they’re 10 or 20, or 200), or you happen to start out with 10 creditors, but turn up 100 or 200 more later. Or, you have to file some additional papers to get some of your secured debts “affirmed” so you can keep, say, your car, etc. YOU JUST PAY THEM NOT ONE PENNY MORE. PERIOD! Thus, for most debtors, bankruptcy with no bankruptcy attorney assistance, offers the debtor low-low affordable costs and rates and is the only way to go.

The Time line. For the credible BPP, it takes an average of roughly one to two days to crank out the prepared, almost completed package of bankruptcy documents for, say, a Chapter 7 case filing (in a case, that is, where the debtor has hastened and substantially provides them the required financial information and documents necessary to do the papers). As a matter of policy, however, the BPP will hold off furnishing the papers to the debtor right away just so that the finishing touches, corrections and proper checking can be made before the debtor gets them. Bankruptcy, file with no bankruptcy attorney?

THE BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEYS’ SERVICES & PRICES

Service: What the bankruptcy lawyer (that is, the one who is competent and knowledgeable in bankruptcy, as not all attorneys are so equipped) does, is essentially akin to the Full Service bankruptcy type of work that the non-lawyer assistance-provider provides. Here, this involves the lawyer – or, more accurately, a staff of paralegals the he or she might have hired to actually do the work – gathering the various documents and required tons of documents and information together, and orderly arranging them, and preparing all the legal forms and paperwork required to file for the debtor’s bankruptcy with the bankruptcy court. As with the case of the non-attorney Full Service paper preparation providers, these workers who directly do the papers (the ones who are the persons that actually do the work in the lawyers’ the lawyers), are often highly trained and experienced paralegals (average several years of work and/or training in the industry) who are skilled at preparation of legal documents and bankruptcy papers, and often, well versed in bankruptcy filing law and procedures.

Furthermore, in terms of quality of service, with the lawyers, within the ranks of the lawyers who do bankruptcy work in the current times, those who file the bulk of the bankruptcy cases seem to be what one practicing bankruptcy lawyer, Jonathan Ginsburg, the Atlanta Georgia, calls “high volume filers.” These lawyers file 100 to 500 or more bankruptcy cases per month, using largely paralegals and some younger lawyers to do the paperwork, and for one thing, such high volume filers have a reputation for not offering much in the way of personal attention, but charge somewhat smaller fees relative to the “boutique” bankruptcy lawyers (those who file more limited number of cases) – a “smaller” amount of fees which Attorney Ginsburg admits, however, often still “appear to be too expensive” for some people “even [with] the lower fees and generous terms” that such volume filers think their charges represent.

Lawyers’ Charges: For Chapter 7, there’s the “initial” charge of $2,000 – 2,500; and for Chapter 13, the “initial” charge of $4,000 – $4,500. Unlike the BPP’s prices which strictly follow an honest, upfront pricing that’s based ONLY on one-time-only “per project” basis, the attorneys’ charges are frequently based on “per hour” hourly rate. (For example, the attorneys’ “per hour” hourly rate charge, was given as $228 (per hour) for their services in 2002, according to a respected independent research study, the 2002 Survey of Law Firm Economics, made by Altman Weil Pensa Publication).

Further more, as a rule, the lawyers’ fees for bankruptcy (the same, as well, in other issues) vary from lawyer to lawyer, and from one location to another location, even from a lawyer in one block to another lawyer just in the next block. The original charge (it’s usually referred to as the “initial” charge) you’re quoted by the lawyer, is often only for the run-of-the-mill, routine kind of case – the simplest, most ordinary kind of bankruptcy there is. So, if it turns out that you have, say, more creditors than the “average” (say, above 15 or so, depending on which lawyer or what part of the country), it will mean additional charge slapped onto your “initial” quoted charge. And, it can cost even more if it’s a “complicated” case in the lawyer’s opinion.

And further, God-forbid if there’s “litigation” or some creditor challenge to a debt, that means additional cost for you, a BIG one. If you are in a high-priced urban area, that alone will almost certainly guarantee more cost for you in filing for bankruptcy. Also, your lawyer will generally want his payment made IN FULL and upfront before he’ll represent you, especially if it’s a Chapter 7 case.

The Time line. Lawyers generally take an average of 2 to 3 weeks (if not more) to do the bankruptcy paper work for Chapter 7.

BOTTOM LINE:

In sum, for you as a debtor, what you should know is that bankruptcy lawyers’ generally make the allowance for themselves so they’d be able and in a position, after the “initial” fee shall have been paid them, to tack on additional fees beyond the “initial” fees you are quoted when you first signed on. The fee you are quoted by a lawyer in a bankruptcy case (even if you view it as excessive, already), may not be – and is often not – the final charge; you may still have to pay more. And probably will, generally!

Not so, though, with the non-lawyer bankruptcy assistance provider. Here, in contrast, that same very EXACT amount you’re quoted on day one, is the final and ONLY charge you’ll get, almost always, from them on the case – ever! PERIOD! The motto seems to be, no bankruptcy attorney & cheap, low-low cost bankruptcy!

Do you do your bankruptcy filing using the no attorney bankruptcy assistance, or the attorney?. What do you think?

FURTHER INFORMATION
For more on the details of the fundamental differences between the bankruptcy lawyer’s differential services, costs and benefits to the debtor, as compared to those provided the debtor by the non-lawyer helper’s services, or to find out how you or any others may use the services of one of the major non-attorney Debt Relief Agencies in the field of bankruptcy filing to file for your own bankruptcy, please visit this website: http://WWW.Afford-Bankruptcy.Com

Benjamin Anosike, Ph.D., has been dubbed by experts and reviewers of his many books, manuals and body of work, which dwell largely on self-help law issues, as “the man who almost literally wrote the book on the use of self-help law methods” by America’s consumers in doing their own routine legal chores – in uncontested divorce, will-making, simple probate, settlement of a dead person’s estate, simple no-asset bankruptcy, etc.

A pioneer and intellectual and moral leader of the 1970s-based “you do your own law” movement and a lifelong vehement advocate and veteran of historical battles for the right of the American consumers to perform their own tasks in the area of routine legal matters, Anosike was one of the pioneers who fought and survived (along with many others of courage) the lawyers’ and organized bar’s stiff war of the 1970s and ’80s against American consumers and entrepreneurs who merely sought, then, to use, write, distribute or sell law-related self-help books and kits for non-lawyers to do their own law, upon the lawyers’ claim then that such was purportedly “unauthorized practice of law” or “practicing law without a license.”

Cheap, Affordable Bankruptcy Without Lawyers – Beat the New Higher Bankruptcy Costs and Save on Fees

March 10th, 2021

Higher Bankrupt Costs Since the New Law, So How Can Debtors Get Cheap Affordable Bankruptcy Without Lawyers?

WHY THE NEW BANKRUPTCY LAW WAS ENACTED

On October 18, 2005, the new bankruptcy law, called the “Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Prevention Act of 2005″ (BAPCPA), went into effect in the United States. At that time, there was no anticipation that a rising higher bankruptcy costs would sooner result with the new law. However, recent reports find that the new law brought such results, and that there are more American debtors going bankruptcy without lawyers.

The new law had been prompted principally by the general clamor and intense outcry and lobbying of the well-financed, well-organized, and properly connected but powerful, American banking and credit card industries and the bankruptcy lawyers, who had contended that the old bankruptcy law was supposedly “too soft on debtors,” and that the “excessive generosity” of the old bankruptcy system supposedly encouraged abuse and allowed many undeserving debtors who, they said, could well have afforded to pay their debts, to take undue advantage by using Chapter 7 bankruptcy to avoid repaying their debts.

That claim was NOT at all true. In deed, almost every credible study that had been conducted on the subject, and most experts that testified before Congress, had held otherwise. However, Congress disregarded such evidence. In stead, it promptly responded by passing the BAPCPA law, any way.

In consequence, the stated and yet unmistakable purpose of this law was essentially to discourage debtors from filing bankruptcy by making it more stringent and expensive to file. The new law was to do that by forcing people who, it was said, could actually “afford” (through a determination by a complex “means test” calculation) to repay some of their debts, into filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 13, instead of under Chapter 7 – that is, the type of bankruptcy (Chapter 13) which requires that the debtor will repay at least some, if not most or all, of their debts.

HAS THE NEW LAW ATTAINED ITS ORIGINAL OBJECTIVE?

But lo and behold, today, it is now some 5 years later into the new bankruptcy law. The actual results and effects of the new law are just beginning to emerge. And the question is: has the BAPCPA law actually attained the basic objective for which it had supposedly been originally designed?

Actually, on one major goal of the law – the goal of discouraging debtors from filing bankruptcy and drastically curtailing the rise in bankruptcy filings by debtors – the BAPCPA law has, to date, turned out to be a woeful failure. In deed, as we speak today, there is a NEAR RECORD RISE IN BANKRUPTCY FILING. For example, in the 12-month period ending June 30, 2010, bankruptcy filings rose 20 percent, according to statistics released by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. A total of 1,572,597 bankruptcy cases were filed nationwide in that period, compared to 1,306,315 bankruptcy cases filed in the previous 12-month period ending June 30, 2009, making it the highest number of filings for any period since the BAPCPA law went into effect in October 2005.

How the New Law Has Made Bankruptcy More Cumbersome and Costly for Debtors

It is, however, on the second major consequence caused by the law, that its impact has become far more profound for the average debtor or bankruptcy filer. Namely, on the fact that the new law has made bankruptcy far more cumbersome for the debtors, and has simply brought rising higher bankruptcy costs, causing debtors to seek cheap affordable bankruptcy without lawyer.

Historically, the ability of the average debtor reasonably to file for bankruptcy and to be reasonably discharged of his/her debt burden, and to obtain a fresh start to begin life anew relatively unhindered by the past debts, has been a fundamental but vital and long-standing part of the American law and life. In deed, that right is one of a handful of fundamental rights specifically named by the original U.S. Constitution and guaranteed under it. However, contrary to that fundamental American value, the new bankruptcy law of 2005 introduces into the bankruptcy system, perhaps for the first time ever, elements which drastically limit the extent of the exercise and enjoyment of this basic right by the average debtor. It does this by placing an array of new hurdles, financial as well as legal, on the path of the overburdened American debtor who seeks the “fresh start” protection that bankruptcy has traditionally offered the American debtor.

Some Examples of How the New Law Has Done this. The new law:

• Now makes it harder for debtors to discharge certain types of debts.
• Forces a greater proportion of debtors to repay their debts.
• Imposes special responsibilities and restrictions uncommon even on bankruptcy lawyers and Bankruptcy Paper Preparers (e.g., lawyers are now required to personally vouch for the accuracy of the debt and financial information their debtor clients provide them, and to do more paperwork ), handing lawyers an excuse to jack up their fees for bankruptcy even higher than before.
• Imposes tremendous restrictions and undue scrutiny upon the Bankruptcy Paper Preparers (the name given by the Bankruptcy Code for non-lawyers who help debtors with their bankruptcy paperwork), the net result of which has now been to discourage affordable assistance for bankruptcy filers and thus chase them into the offices of bankruptcy lawyers who charge some 50 times the fee of the BPPS to do basically the same thing for the debtor.
• Require debtors to undergo credit and budget counseling, and
• Subject bankruptcy filers to a mountain of paperwork, documentation and procedures that could be quite daunting for anyone, in order to file for bankruptcy.

EExorbitant Lawyers’ Fees for bankruptcy Filers the Biggest
Consequence of the New Law

Today, some 5 years after the operation of the new BAPCPA law, it is almost crystal clear now that the biggest consequences of these new array of hurdles brought about by the new law on the American debtor, is that there has been rising higher bankruptcy costs with the new law and an exorbitant lawyers’ fees for bankruptcy filers, and which has caused the debtor to seek cheap affordable bankruptcy without lawyer

Bankrupt Cost Higher

For example, according to a study released in January 2010 by Katherine Porter, associate professor of law at the University of Iowa, and her colleague, Ronald Mann, a professor of law at Columbia University, titled “Save on Bankruptcy fees,” (primarily because attorney fees and court filing fees have risen so dramatically under the new law) most debtors in current times simply find it too expensive to file for bankruptcy. For example, the average lawyers’ fee for a simple bankruptcy in parts of the country today, has reportedly shut up to a whopping sum of $2,500 for a simple Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and about $4,500 for a Chapter 13, among other new complications now to be confronted by the debtor who wishes to file for bankruptcy.

But Don’t Despair. There are Still Some Available Low-cost, Affordable Options for Debtors to File Bankruptcy!

Now, true, for many a debtor the new law has brought rising higher bankrupt costs. But, as a debtor wanting to file bankruptcy, how do you remedy this major hurdle? That may mean, for example, how do you get cheap affordable bankruptcy without lawyers? Actually, one answer seems to be that the American debtors and consumers have become increasingly adept at finding a “new” alternative for getting their bankruptcy filing needs done – AFFORDABLY.

One such major legitimate option and excellent alternative open to debtors under the U.S. Bankruptcy law, and which is now becoming increasingly “popular” among them as their way to file bankruptcy, is the use by debtors of low-cost, cheap, non-lawyer helpers to assist the bankruptcy filers with their bankruptcy paperwork. Called Bankruptcy Paper Preparers or BPP under the bankruptcy law, these helpers are often skilled paralegals. The better ones among them, when correctly selected, are specially trained and experienced specialists in the bankruptcy process, often exactly the same paralegals that bankruptcy lawyers employ in their own offices in doing the bankruptcy work for their debtor clients.

Stephen Elias, a California attorney and bankruptcy specialist and author of several books on the subject, summed up this fact and trend this way: “Surveys have shown that many attorneys have doubled their fees to cope with new requirements imposed by the BAPCPA of 2005. Many thousands of debtors have therefore been priced out of lawyer representation in their bankruptcies.”

Hence, adds Elias: “Because of rules governing the practice of law, the only legal alternative to attorney representation is self representation… Bankruptcy Petition Preparers can assist with your paperwork.”

NEED MORE INFORMATION?

As a debtor wishing to file affordable bankruptcy, how do you remedy the problem of the rising higher bankruptcy costs of the 2005 law? How do you get cheap affordable bankruptcy without lawyer, or with lawyer? For more information on how a growing number of dabtors specifically end the “too broke to even declare bankruptcy syndrome” problem by using low-cost non attorney assistance, such as a good federally-approved Debt Relief Agency or Bankruptcy Paper Preparer, to secure your Constitutional right to bankruptcy protection, please visit this site: http://www.afford-bankruptcy.com/proSeBankruptcyTrend.html

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Benjamin Anosike, Ph.D., has been dubbed by experts and reviewers of his many books, manuals and body of work, which dwell largely on self-help law issues, as “the man who almost literally wrote the book on the use of self-help law methods” by America’s consumers in doing their own routine legal chores – in uncontested divorce, will-making, simple probate, settlement of a dead person’s estate, simple no-asset bankruptcy, etc.

A pioneer and intellectual and moral leader of the 1970s-based “you do your own law” movement and a lifelong vehement advocate and veteran of historical battles for the right of the American consumers to perform their own tasks in the area of routine legal matters, Anosike was one of the pioneers who fought and survived (along with many others of courage) the lawyers’ and organized bar’s stiff war of the 1970s and ’80s against American consumers and entrepreneurs who merely sought, then, to use, write, distribute or sell law-related self-help books and kits for non-lawyers to do their own law, upon the lawyers’ claim then of such being purportedly “unauthorized practice of law” or “practicing law without a license.” Anosike holds graduate degrees in labor economics and management and a Ph.D. in jurisprudence.

Once characterized by a review of the American Library Association’s Booklist Journal as “probably the most prolific author in the field of legal self-help today,” Dr Anosike is the author of over 26 books and manuals (and countless number of articles) on various topics of American law, including 4 volumes on personal and business bankruptcy filing, in a lifetime of dedication. For more on the