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Article I, Section 8, of the United States Constitution authorizes Congress to enact "uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies." Under this grant of authority, Congress enacted the "Bankruptcy Code" in 1978. The Bankruptcy Code, which is codified as title 11 of the United States Code, has been amended several times since its enactment, most recently modified in 2005. It is the uniform federal law that governs all bankruptcy cases.
The procedural aspects of the bankruptcy process are governed by the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure (often called the "Bankruptcy Rules") and local rules of each bankruptcy court. The Bankruptcy Rules contain a set of official forms for use in bankruptcy cases. The Bankruptcy Code and Bankruptcy Rules (and local rules) set forth the formal legal procedures for dealing with the debt problems of individuals.
More and more people are seeking help from non-lawyer bankruptcy petition preparers (BPPs). These are non-lawyer typing services or individuals that charge a fee to generate bankruptcy forms, under the strict direction and control of the consumer.It is important for all parties to remember that bankruptcy petition preparers are not lawyers and cannot provide any legal advice. In most states the fees that a BPP may charge a consumer to prepare bankruptcy documents are regulated by the court. The state rules may state only - a reasonable fee - and case law defines "reasonable". The fees vary widely state to state, and can be anywhere from around $75 to over $200.; fees can also vary slightly within each state.
A bankruptcy petition preparer is by definition any person or business, other than a lawyer or someone who works for a lawyer, that charges a fee to prepare bankruptcy documents. A bankruptcy petition preparer generates bankruptcy forms to file either by typing them or inputting information into a bankruptcy software program.
The Florida Association of Legal Document Preparers with over 50 members, has Bankruptcy Petition Preparers who prepare bankruptcy documents nationwide.
The Nationwide Alliance of Legal Document Preparers is actively seeking new members.
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