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Common Pro Se Mistakes

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  • #16
    Originally posted by rjmwx81 View Post
    Seems to me there are only four correct answers to give a trustee:

    1. Yes, sir.
    2. No, sir.
    3. Yes, ma'am.
    4. No, ma'am.
    Actually those 'yes' and 'no' answers work everywhere else, too.
    "To go bravely forward is to invite a miracle."

    "Worry is the darkroom where negatives are formed."

    Comment


    • #17
      Originally posted by ccsjoe View Post
      One pro se mistake from 341 yesterday as I was waiting for my turn: Do not gloat! Debtor owned body shop, listed an El Camino as personal vehicle at 1K, questioning as follows:

      Trustee: So your car, pretty old huh?
      Debtor: Yeah, almost a classic man
      Trustee: Yeah, same year I was born. And you own a body shop right? So the car is in pretty good shape?
      Debtor: Yeah, done some work you know how it goes
      Trustee: Yeah, can't have a body shop and be driving a rust bucket (laughter)...so what kind of work have you done, I mean, it is custom right?
      Debtor: Oh yeah, I put this in and changed that, and this and that and...
      Trustee: So how much would you say it's worth now, one month after you filed?
      Debtor: At least 6K man, she's primed...not finished, but nicely customed

      Guess who just became an asset case.
      LOL, outstanding.

      We had a similar question. For all practical purpose, we were pro se'. (lawyer sucked). Four years before, I purchased a very nice 67 impala. The brakes locked up so I parked it in a garage we have. Well, we got the big "C" and for four years it sat not running and ignored. Purchased for 2k. The Trustee asked about it and our response was: "it's an old car". He asked, "well an old car could be an old car worth nothing, or a restored worth thousands". Next question was between 1 and 10 of a car housing squirrels, or a classic restoration, what would you class it?" Mrs. answer was: "Sir, it has been sitting on blocks for four years. While it is better than housing squirrels, it's green finish is not paint, it is mold. [ It was a blue car. ]" I said it does not run and he could have it to get it out of the garage. The Trustee abandoned it. 'Hub
      If I knew it all, would I be here?? Hang in there = Retained attorney 8-06, Filed 12-28-07, Discharge 8-13-08, Finally CLOSED 11-3-09, 3-31-10 AP Dismissed, Informed by incompetent lawyer of CLOSED status, October 14, 2010.

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by AngelinaCatHub View Post
        LOL, outstanding.

        We had a similar question. For all practical purpose, we were pro se'. (lawyer sucked). Four years before, I purchased a very nice 67 impala. The brakes locked up so I parked it in a garage we have. Well, we got the big "C" and for four years it sat not running and ignored. Purchased for 2k. The Trustee asked about it and our response was: "it's an old car". He asked, "well an old car could be an old car worth nothing, or a restored worth thousands". Next question was between 1 and 10 of a car housing squirrels, or a classic restoration, what would you class it?" Mrs. answer was: "Sir, it has been sitting on blocks for four years. While it is better than housing squirrels, it's green finish is not paint, it is mold. [ It was a blue car. ]" I said it does not run and he could have it to get it out of the garage. The Trustee abandoned it. 'Hub
        That's priceless!
        Filed Ch. 7 on 9/30/10---341 11/12/10---Report of No Distribution 11/16/10

        Discharged 1/21/11 Closed 1/26/11

        Comment


        • #19
          Oh! Oh! I've got one... my bankruptcy professor in law school was a panel trustee, so we usually got to hear some bizarre stories, but this one takes the cake. This was in Louisiana, so some of the civil law terms may or may not be familiar to you.

          Debtor "sold" several acres of land located along the Mississippi river, worth a very pretty penny, to a friend for the fair market value. But, there was no actual "sale" -- it was what's referred to in Louisiana as a "simulation". Debtor drafted a counter-letter (i.e. a document that states said sale is a simulation and buyer has no rights in the property) and recorded it, so it's on public record.

          The debtor brought a file-stamped copy of the recorded document to the 341 meeting! The last I had heard from my professor, the case was referred to the FBI for bankruptcy fraud!
          Last edited by mb10240; 10-10-2010, 10:16 PM.
          Bazinga!

          Comment


          • #20
            The things some people do are outrageous.
            Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
            Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
            Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog


            I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by ccsjoe View Post
              One pro se mistake from 341 yesterday as I was waiting for my turn: Do not gloat! Debtor owned body shop, listed an El Camino as personal vehicle at 1K, questioning as follows:

              Trustee: So your car, pretty old huh?
              Debtor: Yeah, almost a classic man
              Trustee: Yeah, same year I was born. And you own a body shop right? So the car is in pretty good shape?
              Debtor: Yeah, done some work you know how it goes
              Trustee: Yeah, can't have a body shop and be driving a rust bucket (laughter)...so what kind of work have you done, I mean, it is custom right?
              Debtor: Oh yeah, I put this in and changed that, and this and that and...
              Trustee: So how much would you say it's worth now, one month after you filed?
              Debtor: At least 6K man, she's primed...not finished, but nicely customed

              Guess who just became an asset case.
              O.k., my hat goes off to the trustee on this one! That was one heck of a performance on their part!
              Filed Chapter 7, Pro Se: 12/23/2010
              341 Meeting: 01/26/2011
              Discharged: 03/29/2011

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by tigergem View Post
                Don't use the digital signature. /s/ Your Name on affidavits. Doh! lol. Actually the court has been getting on me about using the digital signature at all. It's only for electronic filers, I guess. I was trying to protect my signature from forgeries, especially by one creditor that has proven to be incredibly unscrupulous. But so much for that idea.
                Some posters here have mentioned delivering their petition and schedules to the clerk by CD-ROM. Is that now forbidden for pro-se filers?
                3/7/11 -

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by randian View Post
                  Some posters here have mentioned delivering their petition and schedules to the clerk by CD-ROM. Is that now forbidden for pro-se filers?
                  I don't think ANYONE has delivered the petition on CD-ROM since the Rules REQUIRE a wet signature on all papers -- requiring such -- if you are not a CM/ECF electronic filer. Even for CM/ECF filers, they are required to either submit on paper or hold for "records" an actual wet signature from the debtor(s).

                  What you DO need to provide on CD-ROM in most Districts, is the Creditor Matrix. It has to be in a certain format and in ASCII. The Districts that require this also tell you the exact format, file name and how to label the CD-ROM. They would allow it on diskette, but switched to CD-ROM since most desktop computers don't even come with diskette drives anymore.
                  Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
                  Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
                  Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog


                  I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by justbroke View Post
                    I don't think ANYONE has delivered the petition on CD-ROM since the Rules REQUIRE a wet signature on all papers -- requiring such -- if you are not a CM/ECF electronic filer.
                    I guess I misunderstood their post. Thanks for correcting me.
                    3/7/11 -

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      ccjoe,

                      You could have said you were considering listing at as an environmental hazard or as potentially imminently harmful to the public haha. (Though it's really not a good idea to joke around in these situations)

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        I take no credit for this, but gman posted this tidbit in another thread.

                        1. Attend some 341 hearings in your area if at all humanly possible. I spent a few hours and watched 35 cases run through. I also had conversations with some debtors there as well. This helped tremendously, not only to see what the process was like (as every TRUSTEE is different) but also gave me peace of mind because I came in prepared.

                        2. Liquidate everything in your savings / checking and start using money orders to pay all bills. Why? Well, I made the mistake of having some funds in my count deposited AFTER I filed and my credit union froze them. Thankfully I got them to unfreeze them within 48 hours....but it was an unnecessary mess.

                        3. Download a free copy of BEST CASE Chapter 7 bankruptcy software so you can run any scenarios you need to before your final filing. Note a free copy does not allow you to print out your paperwork....you will still need to fill this in on the side.

                        4. Contact the clerk in your district to get any specific forms that your local court uses. They were very helpful.

                        5. Read up on reaffirming home and car debts. Too lengthy to list the pros and cons here.

                        6. Understand at day's end - Chapter 7 cases are not "money makers" for the Trustees, so you want to make sure you are not the nail that sticks out of the wood. If your case is simple and straightforward...you will fly through as there is literally no profit incentive for them to scrutinize your case.

                        7. When in doubt - call a lawyer or two or three and pick their brain. I found that some knew the law...while some shockingly did not. Even better, the people in here live and breathe issues every day. This forum was simply a life saver for me.
                        Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
                        Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
                        Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog


                        I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Liquidate everything in your savings/checking?

                          Is it best to empty the bank account so there is no paper trail? Wouldn't writing checks for your necessary expenses be a GOOD THING since you can show your bank statements to the trustee and prove that you're not spending your money on useless items or trying to hide your money?

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by djd View Post
                            Liquidate everything in your savings/checking?
                            This shouldn't be taken literally. It means to spend down the account on necessities! You don't want the Trustee asking you what you did with a large sum of money, and your answer is that it was on... well... entertaining yourself! It is okay to spend it down on food (stock up), deferred dental work (get that crown done), medical (go see the doctor!), repairing your car or home (not "upgrading" or "enhancing" it), or paying your BK attorney.
                            Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
                            Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
                            Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog


                            I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              I just noticed that someone filed a Chapter 13 pro se. Can someone please tell me why you want to do that. Suppose your plan pays back 100 a month to the unsecured creditors or 6,000 dollars on 60,000 in debt which would be a 10% plan. If you had an attorney he would probably cost about 3,000 and the plan which had 6,000 would then pay back 3,000 to the unsecured creditors.
                              I can understand filing prose if you are filing a Chapter 7. I can understand filing prose if you are trying to bankrupt student loan debt because it looks like you are rich enough to repay the student loan debt if you hired an attorney to discharge the student loan debt. But in a Chapter 13 you are just taking the money from the unsecured creditors normally to pay the attorney fees. In a Chapter 13 when you file prose you are just doing the work so that you can repay more to the unsecured creditors. There just does not seem to be any logic to that especially when an attorney would normally do a better job than you would or could and an attorney can tweak the plan to pay less to some of the secureds.

                              Why why Why do a Chapter 13 prose unless you have 0% plan that cant pay even the attorney fee.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by ssshadow View Post
                                I just noticed that someone filed a Chapter 13 pro se. Can someone please tell me why you want to do that. Suppose your plan pays back 100 a month to the unsecured creditors or 6,000 dollars on 60,000 in debt which would be a 10% plan. If you had an attorney he would probably cost about 3,000 and the plan which had 6,000 would then pay back 3,000 to the unsecured creditors.
                                I can understand filing prose if you are filing a Chapter 7. I can understand filing prose if you are trying to bankrupt student loan debt because it looks like you are rich enough to repay the student loan debt if you hired an attorney to discharge the student loan debt. But in a Chapter 13 you are just taking the money from the unsecured creditors normally to pay the attorney fees. In a Chapter 13 when you file prose you are just doing the work so that you can repay more to the unsecured creditors. There just does not seem to be any logic to that especially when an attorney would normally do a better job than you would or could and an attorney can tweak the plan to pay less to some of the secureds.

                                Why why Why do a Chapter 13 prose unless you have 0% plan that cant pay even the attorney fee.
                                Most people probably should not try to file a Chapter 13 pro se, granted, however, I filed my chapter 13 pro se because I could, and because I was in too much of a hurry to bother with babysitting an attorney. My plan pays less than 1% to unsecureds and the remainder is all neatly crammed down and tilled both to my satisfaction and to the bare minimum even allowable over 56 (or was it 58?) months. That gives me at least two months of breathing room that I hopefully will never need. I dare say, an attorney could not have done a better job than I did. And I didn't have to deal with the stress of having an attorney who couldn't be bothered to answer an email or pick up the phone if I had a question or a concern. Any further questions?

                                Comment

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