When it comes to important financial decisions very little is done without some kind of help from others. However, that doesn’t mean you have to hand over complete control or that you can’t do the majority of the work on your own – and save money in the process. In the world of debt solutions, sometimes the best plan is to try to get out of debt on your own.
Staying in Control Does Not Mean Working in Isolation
The world of debt management can be confusing, and the legal requirements can be overwhelming. But there is a balance that can be achieved between turning everything over to a third party, and getting out of debt on your own. Do-it-yourself debt management is a realistic strategy, but even with a DIY approach, you can take advantage of several available resources. Ultimately, you are just trying to stay in control and involved in every step. Self-education about debt settlement, bankruptcy and credit repair is widely available from many sources, such as Nolo, which offers a good selection of do-it-yourself legal guides complete with forms and instructions prepared by legal experts.
There are numerous providers of credit repair kits, which offer sound advice, strategies and tactics, and forms ready for you to fill out. These kits can be much more cost-advantageous than going to a third party provider, and they also allow you to remain firmly in control of your situation. When choosing a credit repair kit though, be sure to obtain one from a reputable provider with a track record and experience in the legal field.
Do-It-Yourself Bankruptcy to Get Out of Debt
If you decide that the best way to get out of debt on your own is to file bankruptcy, you will discover that attorneys are more than willing to help – for a large fee. Bankruptcy, however, is largely a function of (a lot of) paperwork. Very few attorneys actually do the paperwork themselves, instead leaving it to their paralegals to complete. The fact is, you do not need legal training to file a basic bankruptcy. Legal counsel may be appropriate if your case is complex, but for most ordinary cases, the do-it-yourself option is entirely realistic. If you are adept at paperwork and have the time, it is a reasonable option.
Do-it-yourself legal clinics have proliferated in recent years for these exact situations. Most such clinics are not staffed by attorneys and are not legally allowed to give legal advice, but they do exist to offer you easy access to the right forms and written do-it-yourself guides for completing them successfully. According to the ABA Journal, these clinics, such as We the People and Legal Zoom, have been named in some class action complaints by state bar associations who claim they practice law without a license—but keep in mind that these complaints are being made by lawyers, not consumers.
Be Diligent When You Get Out of Debt on Your Own
If you do choose to proceed with a legal action without an attorney, make sure to take time to study every document thoroughly before submitting it to the court. The court clerk will accept your document and stamp it, but will not give you any advice as to whether you have filled it out correctly. If even the smallest item is incorrectly filed, you will be sent back to the beginning with very few clues as to where you went wrong. “Denied” is the extent of the advice—explaining why you were denied is not the domain of the court, so be very diligent and precise in filing your forms. Common mistakes may include neglecting to include every creditor, underestimating living expenses, or neglecting to include property, retirement funds, or even tax refunds that are due.
Remember, these forms and the laws governing them were created mostly by lawyers that are more familiar with legal language than the average consumer. It is easy to get confused. That said though, do not be intimidated by the legalese. Just take time to understand it. A good place to start is with the US Court website, which has an extensive glossary of legal terms.
The best way to get out of debt is often by taking control of the situation yourself. Do-it-yourself programs can be very useful if you take the right approach, take the time to learn about your options and follow through with diligence and precision. If anything, being invested and highly involved in your own debt recovery is the first step whether you are going it alone or getting assistance from a professional.
Getting out of debt takes work but it’s not impossible. Discover which debt relief options and strategies will work best for your financial situation.