Do-It-Yourself Bankruptcy

Do-It-Yourself Bankruptcy, is it the best choice for you?


Now days DIY (do-it-yourself) projects are becoming increasingly popular, with our economic status and the need to save money, it may seem like a good idea, but is a DIY bankruptcy your best choice? For the latter of Americans, a DIY bankruptcy could end up costing you more than it will save you. Bankruptcy attorneys have the experience to properly prepare your bankruptcy filings in order to benefit you.


Most Common Disadvantages of do-it-yourself Bankruptcies:
1) Bankruptcy is a complicated process. You will spend hours trying to educate yourself on the procedures of a bankruptcy case where a bankruptcy attorney will already know what needs to be done. It is much safer using an attorney who already knows the system to avoid any complications or mistakes that could occur if you try to prepare and file on your own.


2) Bankruptcy hearings and meetings require your presence. Judges and Trustees may present questions or concerns regarding your bankruptcy, you may not know the answers to, where an attorney will know the general issues that cause concern and the way to settle those concerns. Often times Debtors give too much information or say too much while in the presence of the judge or trustee. For example, questions that may be asked of you in a meeting of creditors are extremely limited; you will not know what questions you don’t have to answer.


3) There is always a greater chance of making a mistake when you are preparing a bankruptcy yourself. Once again bankruptcy attorneys prepare and file bankruptcies daily; they know the system and the way to properly prepare your bankruptcy in the best interest of you, the Debtor. Non lawyer bankruptcy form preparers are allowed only to assist in filling out forms and may not give legal advice. They must not instruct you what to do to get the best result; a lawyer is obligated to do just that.

4) Some errors in bankruptcy, such as not reporting property, pre-bankruptcy transfers, or certain creditors, may violate Federal Criminal Law. Debtors violating such laws may face jail time.

These are just some of the disadvantages you may face when filing a bankruptcy yourself. As a law firm we would advise you to seek the advice of an attorney before attempting to file Bankruptcy on your own.


Get Off My Lawn! – Boundary Line Dispute

boundary line disputeBoundary Line Dispute

By: Steven Schneider

A real estate boundary line dispute may involve anywhere from a few square feet to tracts of acreage.  One party may have been using the property of another for many years without knowledge and then a new owner comes in and asserts ownership.  A surveying mistake or a difference of opinion or method in resolving surveying issues may result in conflicting surveys.

In any case, traditional attitudes toward private ownership of real property, from the depths to the heavens, create the “Get off my lawn” mentality and a confrontation. So when your neighbor at the lake puts his dock in your square foot of second class shore land the gauntlet is seriously thrown down. Then he’ll build an addition to block your view, shine his porch light in your bedroom window, and fill your locks with glue.  That was a real case that cost the parties many times the value of the property in dispute.

This can also happen on your residential city lot. Did your predecessor build the fence right on the line, or up to the line, or just where he thought the line might be? And if your neighbor runs over your sprinkler next to his driveway, is he trespassing or are you encroaching?

In either case, the first step is to order a survey.  Preferably, the survey will show the disputed line(s) and the location of structures, fences, docks, relative to the line(s). This costs money and might actually prove you wrong.  However, in Washington, a Seller of real estate is required to disclose a dispute or discrepancy in the Seller’s Real Property Disclosures.  Your basic title insurance policy won’t cover a boundary discrepancy without a survey and will not cover something not in the record.

But the Seller must resolve the matter in order to sell the property, or even pass it down to the kids, without the dispute.  If the neighbors are reasonable, you may not need an attorney.  A survey is however, always advised even if to describe an agreed boundary line and record.

But the situation can bring out the worst in people because a man’s home is his castle. When you order the survey, your neighbor might pull up the stakes and scare the surveyor off.  You are getting ready to pour concrete on a 100 foot retaining wall and he gets a restraining order as the cement trucks pull up.  He finds an old survey or gets a new one that contradicts yours, claims he’s been mowing that spot and planting posies for years, his grandpa had a pig sty right there and all the old timers remember that hog that won the blue ribbon.  And by the way, the original patent described one corner as at the big tree or on a rock. Again, your best friend is the surveyor, not that shotgun.  See you in Court!

Attorney Steven Schneider will be speaking about issues related to boundary line disputes on December 11, 2012 at the Red Lion River Inn.This seminar will benefit attorneys, surveyors, engineers, architects, developers, planners, local government officials, real estate or title insurance professionals. For more information, see the National Business Institute’s Webpage