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Even if Chapter 7 document doesn't seem to apply, submit it anyway

The rules of the bankruptcy court make clear that you don't have to have an attorney's help to go through the process. That might seem to suggest that the process is so simple that an experienced lawyer's assistance might be an unnecessary expense.

But our experience with the court in Tennessee has shown is that the process can be much more complicated than it might seem at first. In some instances, the steps seem to defy all logic. What can happen then is that a filer might conclude that one or another particular document doesn't apply, so doesn't need to be submitted. And what happens then is that the filing gets kicked back and the process gets delayed.

A bankruptcy advice article on Bankrate.com is what prompts this post. A woman wrote in to ask whether it made sense for her to include an Individual Debtor's Statement of Intention with her Chapter 7 filing. As information from FindLaw reflects, those statements represent a declaration of how the filer intends to deal with any debt secured by property.

The woman noted that she had no secured debt and so hadn't bothered to file the statement of intent. She was subsequently informed that her Chapter 7 filing was deficient. The adviser clarified for the woman that even though it doesn't seem to apply, such statements are required with all filings.

Another thing that this case seems to indicate is that the woman filed her initial petition without the help of an attorney. Fortunately, the issue may be as easy to remedy as providing the missing document. But it's an issue that could have been avoided altogether if the woman had sought legal assistance.

Source: Bankrate.com, "Avoid these bankruptcy mistakes," Justin Harelik, accessed Oct. 20, 2014

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