How do you file for bankruptcy on your own?

UPDATED: Jun 12, 2011

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How do you file for bankruptcy on your own?

I’m trying to help my sister who has already paid $5000 to an attorney to file  a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. She needs to file for Chapter 7 and is broke. She was told that she had to go back to the attorney who help her the first time before she can file a Chapter 7. When she filed Chapter 13 she was getting unemployment; now she is not. Her husband’s work is up and down. What can she do on her own to file a Chapter 7. Most of her debt was brought on by hospital bills. What would be the next step without having to pay her attorney more money that she really doesn’t have. All this is creating more problems with her health.

Asked on June 12, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Pennsylvania


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Your sister can file on her own behalf if she cannot afford an attorney (although having legal representation is best).  Here is a link to a site that will provide bankruptcy basics as well as all of the forms that are needed:

After reviewing everything if she feels that she needs help with all of this, see if your sister qualifies for representation by Legal Aid or see if they can recommend someone to help her.  Also, check if there is a law school nearby to where she lives; they typically run free/low cost clinics that handle these type cases.  Finally, contact the local Bar Association in her county; they may have a list of attorneys who will take the case "pro bono" (for free) or at least for a reduced fee based on her income/circumstances. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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