Arkansas Petition Preparer Guidelines

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A petition preparer is anyone who charges no more than $150 to type up or fill out the documents needed for bankruptcy. If you hire a lawyer for your Arkansas bankruptcy, you likely do not need to hire a petition preparer as well; you will have plenty of help during your case. However, if you opt to represent yourself, you should consider hiring a petition preparer to get your bankruptcy forms ready. Find out more about the bankruptcy regulations regarding hiring a petition preparer in your state.

What to Expect from a Petition Preparer

You can easily budget for this kind of help filling out bankruptcy forms, as petition preparers in Arkansas or anywhere else cannot charge more than $150 for their services. Note that this price does not include the bankruptcy filing fee. In fact, this person is not allowed to handle any other expenses of bankruptcy, so do not attempt to pay any more than $150. What you can expect from an Arkansas petition preparer is for your bankruptcy forms to be completed. There is a lot of paperwork involved in bankruptcy, and if you do not have access to a computer or typewriter, preparing the forms can be a challenge. Therefore, if you choose to represent yourself in bankruptcy court, at least get some help by hiring someone to type up all the forms you will need. This should save you some time without adding much to your expenses.

Learn the Limits of a Petition Preparer

While a petition preparer can be helpful when it comes to getting the bankruptcy forms ready, do not expect help in any other area of the bankruptcy process. In fact, petition preparers are expressly barred from offering legal advice. One who attempts to counsel you on what to do during your bankruptcy not only faces legal consequences for breaking bankruptcy laws, but should also not be trusted since few petition preparers are well versed in the law anyway. Therefore, disregard any legal advice given, and report the person before finding a new petition preparer. More specifically, the person in charge of preparing your bankruptcy forms cannot offer advice on which chapter you should file. Petition preparers also cannot tell you how to fill out the bankruptcy forms or respond to an objection of discharge after the bankruptcy has been filed. Additionally, do not ask them specific questions about which debts can be discharged, which assets are exempt, or whether you can keep your home. If you have questions about liens, reaffirmation of debts or tax consequences as a result of the bankruptcy, do not ask the person preparing your bankruptcy forms. Not only can they not reply, but they might not know the correct answer.

Contact a Lawyer

You can, however, ask an Arkansas bankruptcy lawyer these questions. Attend an initial consultation to find out if you should even file at all, and then decide whether you will use a lawyer or a petition preparer to get the bankruptcy forms ready for your case.