Corporations and partnerships must have an attorney represent them in a bankruptcy case. Individuals, however, may represent themselves in bankruptcy court. While individuals can file a bankruptcy case without an attorney, or “pro se,” it is extremely difficult to do so successfully.
Bankruptcy has long term financial and legal consequences, and hiring a
competent attorney is strongly recommended.
Debtors must list all property and debts in their bankruptcy schedules. If a debt is not listed, it is possible the debt will not be discharged. A list of the documents the debtor must file are set out on Form 2000, one of the Official Bankruptcy Forms created by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. The judge can also deny the discharge of all debts if a debtor does something dishonest in connection with the bankruptcy case, such as destroying or hiding property, falsifying records, or lying. Individual bankruptcy cases are randomly audited to determine the accuracy, truthfulness, and completeness of the information that the debtor is required to provide.
You are a Debtor if...
- You are a person or institution who owes money to a creditor.
- You cannot repay the money owed by the time it is due and are filing for bankruptcy.
- Bankruptcy Basics
Obtain an overview of bankruptcy and the different chapters.
- Before You File
Important items to take into consideration and do before filing for bankruptcy.
Filing Without an Attorney?
- Filing Without an Attorney (Pro Se)
Information on starting the filing process.
- General Warning to all Parties Proceeding without an Attorney
- Legal Services
Available resources for Pro Se filers.
- Filing Requirements
Time limits, copies and documents required for each Chapter are available under our Filing Requirements section and will help you determine what you need to file for bankruptcy and at what point during the bankruptcy you will need to file those documents.
- File a Proof of Claim Online
Rules & Forms
If you are unsure of what forms to use, see Filing Requirements for your bankruptcy type.
- Local Forms
- Official Forms
Learn about the local and national rules as they apply to your bankruptcy case.
Related External Links
- Approved Credit Counseling Agencies (external link)
- Debtor Education Approved Providers List (external link)
- Means Testing (external link)
- Tax Returns & Transcripts (external link)
Chapter 13 Trustee Web Sites
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Have questions? Visit the Frequently Asked Questions section of the website and click on General or Debtors/Attorneys to find answers about filing for bankruptcy.