How Do I Become a Bankruptcy Petition Preparer?

By Mike Broemmel

Becoming a bankruptcy petition preparer allows you the ability to provide certain types of services to debtors. Petitions and related documents associated with bankruptcy cases--both consumer and commercial bankruptcies--are complicated. Many consumers want to avoid paying an attorney but do not have the desire to complete these materials on their own. Consequently, bankruptcy petition preparers are in high demand.

Requirements

Study the essential requirements associated with becoming a bankruptcy petition preparer. Section 110 of the United States Bankruptcy Code provides that a non-attorney is able to prepare bankruptcy petitions for debtors. There is no certification or registration process for a person interested in becoming a bankruptcy petition preparer.

Supervision of a bankruptcy petition preparer is undertaken by the Office of the Bankruptcy Trustee in the specific court or courts at which the preparer is working. Supervision is undertaken somewhat after the fact. The trustee reviews petitions submitted by preparers and will red flag inappropriate work by such an individual.

Although there is no obligation to do so, advise the trustee that you intend to embark on preparing petitions.

Training

Enroll in an educational program to gain a basic understanding of what is involved in bankruptcy petition preparation. There are a variety of resources that offer this training. These include both online programs and more traditional educational opportunities.

Bankruptcy petition preparer organizations such as the National Association of Bankruptcy Petition Preparers provide information on educational and training opportunities. In some states, the bankruptcy court trustee's office maintains information on training opportunities for bankruptcy petition preparers.

An alternative to participating in a more formalized training program is to work under an experienced bankruptcy petition preparer. The law does not require any specific education or training to become a bankruptcy petition preparer.

Limitations

Familiarize yourself with the limitations you face as a bankruptcy petition preparer. Part of the process of becoming a bankruptcy petition preparer is recognizing what you cannot do in that capacity. Chief among these limitations is that you cannot provide any legal advice. The role is limited only to filling out bankruptcy forms. If a debtor raises any questions, the only option available to a preparer is to refer the debtor to an attorney.

About the Author

Mike Broemmel began writing in 1982. He is an author/lecturer with two novels on the market internationally, "The Shadow Cast" and "The Miller Moth." Broemmel served on the staff of the White House Office of Media Relations. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and political science from Benedictine College and a Juris Doctorate from Washburn University. He also attended Brunel University, London.

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