Bankruptcy InformationBankruptcy Petition Preparer | 3 Ways the Best BPP is a Lawyer

May 2, 2010

Bankruptcy Petition Preparer

Three Reasons the Best BPP is a Lawyer

A bankruptcy petition preparer (or BPP) is someone who does just that: prepares a bankruptcy petition. Now, that may sound obvious to you, but there’s a lot of nuance behind it.

Definition: Bankruptcy Petition Preparer

A bankruptcy petition preparer is a term of art. Congress, in 11 USC 110(a), defines it as, “a person, other than an attorney for the debtor or an employee of such an attorney under the direct supervision of such attorney, who prepares for compensation a document for filing.”

…other than an attorney…

In short, a BPP is an unlicensed person who types bankruptcy papers. Which gets us to…

First, a Bankruptcy Petition Preparer Can’t Practice Law

Federal law says in Section 110(b)(2)(B) that a BPP can’t practice law or give legal advice. That’s fine, you say, you just want to fill out forms and file bankruptcy. But you’ll be amazed at how much in completing those forms is legal advice and practicing law.

Let’s start with this: do you want the bankruptcy petition to be for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy? Even that basic — and important — decision is legal advice.

A bankruptcy petition preparer can literally, only, take the information you give them and type it into the bankruptcy forms. Any decision-making or advice or guidance is forbidden. If they advise you, do you really want to be associated with a reckless lawbreaker?  If they don’t guide you and all they do is type, what really are you paying for?

Attorney Hale Antico personally prepares his bankruptcy petitions.

Second, a BPP Can’t Represent You in Court

Every bankruptcy case that’s filed requires you to attend a meeting of creditors that’s like a court deposition. You’re put under oath, and required to answer questions about your finances and the papers you filed with the court. The person asking the questions is looking for ways to seize your assets and take your things and find flaws in your papers, picking them apart. A bankruptcy petition preparer can’t be with you in court. You’re on your own.

Attorney Antico personally attends almost all of his 341(a) meetings of creditors, and is with you, literally by your side.

Third, a Bankruptcy Petition Preparer is Unaccountable

Because bankruptcy petition preparers are unlicensed, you have no recourse when things go wrong. If the BPP gave you advice, filled out the papers without you telling them exactly what to put where, and when things go south, you’re on your own. They’ve moved on to the next person, and there’s no licensing authority to which you can report them. There’s a reason they’re cheap: they can’t get in trouble or be held responsible for their mistakes.

You get what you pay for.

There’s a reason for the old phrase, “you get what you pay for.” Penny wise, pound foolish. You may save a few bucks, but when things go sideways, you’ll have nowhere to turn. And things go sideways. Do you know how I know? Because I attend court and see the debtor testify alone about the person who helped them, did things wrong, broke laws.

I’ve heard stories about the BPP charging more money to fix things as addons and by the end, people paid more than an attorney. I get the calls from people who expect me to fix a five-dollar haircut. And it’s often too late to save.

People ask me, “what are you doing for the money I pay you?” And the answer is, mostly everything.  I’m personally sitting down with you to go over your finances. I’m personally entering all the data myself and reviewing the completed petition and schedules and statement of financial affairs. I’m personally advising you, responding to emails, guiding and helping. I’m personally attending court with you.

I make this easy. The real question is, what is the BPP doing for you? How can they justify their fee if they’re only allowed to type what you give them?

We Make This Easy

Unlike bankruptcy petition preparers, I’m a licensed attorney. And not just any lawyer, but a bankruptcy attorney, experienced and specializing in the field of consumer debt law. Unlike BPPs, I represent you in court, and give legal advice. And unlike them, I am accountable, and have many nice reviews that reflect it.

Contact us and let’s get started. We’re affordable and have a flexible payment plan.

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Antico Debt Law – A bankruptcy attorney in Santa Clarita CA and federal debt relief agency pursuant to Title 11 of the Bankruptcy Code

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