Filing Bankruptcy Without a Lawyer: Resources for Pro Se Filers
If you are thinking about filing a bankruptcy without the help of an attorney, you need to do your research and gather your resources so that you will have the best chance of seeing the case through successfully. Resources may include the advice of an attorney, an accountant or someone else knowledgeable about the process, online resources, books and other sources of information.
Here are some resources to get you started.
Free Attorney Advice
First and foremost, your best resource will be a consumer bankruptcy attorney in your jurisdiction.
If it happens that you decide that you really need some help either filing your case or managing it once it is filed, I highly recommend that you visit the website for the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. There you can find the names and contact information for attorneys who specialize in helping people in your situation. Many, if not most, will offer you a free initial consultation to determine what you need and how they can help you. You have nothing to lose by visiting one of these highly experienced and knowledgeable attorneys, but you may have a lot to lose if you don’t.
If Cost is an Issue
No doubt, you’ve considered the cost of filing a bankruptcy case. Please check out these resources before you make a final decision to go it alone. You may find that you qualify for low or no-cost attorney services, or that you may be able to afford to hire an attorney after all.
Remember, most consumer bankruptcy attorneys will offer you a free consultation. They can also help you figure out how to afford to file bankruptcy.
General Resources and Information
The Administrative Office of the US Courts has an extensive library of information on filing bankruptcy.
Nolo.com is an excellent site for information about all kinds of legal issues of interest to consumers, including bankruptcy.
Each bankruptcy court will have information for pro se filers on its website. You can access information about each of the bankruptcy courts here, including where to file your case: Court Website Links
The Official Forms are available for free on the website of the Administrative Office of the US Courts. See the list here: Official Bankruptcy Forms. Note that many of these forms are new as of November 1, 2015. Forms used before that date are no longer valid and should not be used.
There are other websites that make the forms available for a price or use a database that may make it a bit easier to fill out the forms. No endorsements here, but you can check these out for yourself:
Bankruptcy Petition Preparers:
A bankruptcy petition preparer a person or a service that takes the information you provide and puts in on the bankruptcy paperwork under your direction. Of course, they do this for a fee. The preparer is not allowed to give you any legal advice whatsoever.
They can do little more than just type the information you provide onto the forms. So, do not expect any expertise for your $200. To learn more about bankruptcy petition preparers and what they do, see
If you would like a little bit more in depth guidance on how to go about filing a bankruptcy case on your own, these books might be helpful. Again, no endorsements.
For more things to think about if you are considering filing bankruptcy on your own, see
Filing Bankruptcy Without a Lawyer: Pitfalls for Pro Se Filers, Part 1
Filing Bankruptcy Without a Lawyer: Pitfalls for Pro Se Filers, Part 2
Filing Bankruptcy Without a Lawyer: Pitfalls for Pro Se Filers, Part 3