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What Services Can A Bankruptcy Petition Preparer Provide?

Bankruptcy petition preparers are permitted to provide services limited to the typing of forms and filing of documents. These services are subject to various statutory requirements and limitations. For example, the Bankruptcy Code requires a bankruptcy petition preparer to file with the petition a declaration under penalty of perjury disclosing compensation received from or on behalf of the debtor and any unpaid fee charged to the debtor. A bankruptcy petition preparer is required to provide all clients with an official notification form, which both the preparer and the debtor must sign, stating the services the petition preparer can and cannot perform. Additionally, the bankruptcy petition preparer is required to sign and print the preparer's name, address, and complete social security number on all documents prepared for filing.

Local guidelines impose additional requirements and limitations on bankruptcy petition preparers in Eastern District of California bankruptcy cases. These guidelines give examples of what a bankruptcy petition preparer can't do, and limit the fee charged by a bankruptcy petition preparer for typing and filing a bankruptcy petition to $125.00. Bankruptcy petition preparers are required to provide a copy of the local guidelines, together with a Notice to Debtor Concerning Bankruptcy Petition Preparers (Form EDC 3-350), to you before preparing your bankruptcy petition or accepting any money from you or on your behalf. If your petition is prepared by a bankruptcy petition preparer, you should sign and file the Notice with your bankruptcy papers.

Please note that although bankruptcy preparers are required to sign all documents prepared for filing, they are not authorized to sign any document on your behalf. Therefore, you (and if filing a joint petition, your spouse also) must sign all the documents. Copies of all prepared documents should be furnished to you by the bankruptcy petition preparer at the time they are presented to you for signature.

Likewise, bankruptcy petition preparers are prohibited by law from collecting or receiving any court fees connected with the filing of your case. The court fees connected with the filing of your case include the petition filing fee, miscellaneous administrative fee, and, in chapter 7 cases, the chapter 7 trustee fee. These fees should be paid directly by you to the court. The failure of any bankruptcy petition preparer to comply with the law should immediately be brought to the attention of any trustee appointed in your case and the local Office of the United States Trustee at (916) 930-2100 for cases filed in Sacramento and Modesto, and (559) 487-5100 for cases filed in Fresno.

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