Is he right? Probably not.
Long story short, I noticed a youtube video of a guy hocking some sort of do-it-yourself bankruptcy booklet for $44 while looking through Salt Lake City Bankruptcy Lawyer videos. This guy has a bunch of videos marketed to different major cities, and what he’s telling you is almost completely false. I’m not going to post a link to the videos because they’re pretty disgusting and I don’t really wanna dignify them with extra traffic.
But they do give me a good jumping off point to discuss an important topic: do you need a bankruptcy lawyer to file bankruptcy in Utah?
The answer to this question is: probably, yes.
While the guy in the video says that a lawyer cannot do anything for you that you cannot do for yourself, that is only true in the most technical sense. Yes it is true that you can file your own bankruptcy petition, and you can represent yourself at your 341 meeting with creditors, and you can do everything else that you need to do in order to get a discharge in your bankruptcy case without hiring a bankruptcy attorney in Utah. But that doesn’t mean that you know how to do it, does it? That is one reason you might hire a bankruptcy lawyer – because if you don’t do everything correctly you could mess something up and end up not getting some or all of your debts discharged.
There is one other falsehood in this guy’s video as well. He completely forgets to mention the fact that most of what you are paying for when you see a Utah Bankruptcy Attorney is legal advice. You cannot give yourself legal advice, and you can’t get if from a paralegal or a petition preparer either. You certainly won’t get any legal advice from a do-it-yourself guide.
It is possible to file a bankruptcy petition and successfully get a discharge of your debts without the help of a lawyer – but it requires some special knowledge and a lot of time that many people don’t have.
How do you know if you can file your own bankruptcy petition? Well, I would never advise anyone to do it by themselves, but at the very least, you should be able to answer the following questions before you try to go into court without a bankruptcy lawyer:
- What is the difference between secured and unsecured debt?
- What is the difference between personal and real property?
- What is a codebtor?
- What are the property exemptions for Utah?
- What is the role of the bankruptcy Trustee? (btw – the guy who filmed this video clearly does not understand – his fast and loose vocabulary is inaccurate and betrays his inexperience)
- What is the difference between surrender, redemption, and reaffirmation?
- What is the 341 meeting?
- What are the grounds for objection to discharge?
If you can only answer some of these questions, you’re not ready to do this alone. The information exists for you to study up and get to the point where you can muddle through for yourself – but it sure will save you a lot of time, worry, and probably money if you just let an actual bankruptcy attorney help you out!