New York Petition Preparer Guidelines

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If you are considering filing for bankruptcy in New York, a petition preparer may be just what you need. This is a person who prepares your bankruptcy documents for a fee of $150 or less. If the petition preparer you are considering charges more than this price, he should be reported. This is because this is a breach of one of the many bankruptcy regulations concerning petition preparers.

Responsibilities of a Petition Preparer in New York

The main job of a petition preparer is to type up the forms you need to declare bankruptcy in New York. Some reasons for needing this service include a lack of time or no access to a typewriter or computer. If you have plenty of time to prepare the forms on your own, as well as easy access to a computer, you can save $150 by getting the paperwork ready by yourself. If, on the other hand, you wish to hire a petition preparer as a cheap way to get legal advice, this plan will not work since it goes directly against the guidelines for this professional. 

How to Adhere to the Petition Preparer Guidelines

A petition preparer cannot dispense legal advice, mostly because there is no legal training required for this type of professional. Therefore, petition preparers are not qualified to tell you whether you should file for bankruptcy or which chapter to use. They cannot even collect your bankruptcy filing fees, as you need to give these to the New York clerk or court on your own. In addition, do not ask your petition preparer how to fill out the paperwork once it is prepared. There should be instructions on it, and if not, you may need a lawyer to clarify the documents for you. You should also see a lawyer, not a petition preparer, if you have questions about which assets you can keep, exemptions that apply to you or which debts will be discharged. The same goes for queries about liens, taxes or objections to a discharge during bankruptcy. Finally, any questions you have about your home or whether you should reaffirm debts or redeem property should be left for your lawyer to answer. Petition preparers do not know the answers, and if they even attempt to advise you legally, they can be reported and fined.

Consider Legal Advice from New York Lawyers

You should seek a different petition preparer if yours tries to give you legal advice. In fact, you should hire a lawyer if you have a lot of questions about bankruptcy, as you will not get a clear, accurate answer from a petition preparer in New York.