For many Americans, a simple phone call is all that's needed to instill a sense of fear and anxiety, particularly for those that find themselves deep in debt. Chances are good that the person on the other end of the line is an aggressive creditor looking for money. If it's not a phone call that stirs fear then perhaps it's letters in the mail or a knock on the door. It doesn't have to be this way. The personal bankruptcy process was set up to help struggling borrowers start their lives over and is often the best option for people that have exhausted alternative means of debt repair. Of course, claiming bankruptcy is a serious matter, which is why it's important that you don't file on your own. Instead, declare yourself bankrupt using a bankruptcy attorney.

Although there is no legal requirement that prevents you from filing on your own, there are several disadvantages to doing so. Filing a bankruptcy claim can be extraordinarily time consuming, as there are a number of documents to prepare and financial records to review. Bankruptcy can also be an extremely stressful time, particularly if you're going into the process with no prior knowledge in terms of what to expect. Rather than subject yourself to the misery, why not simply hire someone to help you through the process. The right person can help put your individual circumstance into perspective and they can also prepare you for filing your claim and beyond.

In terms of representation, the two most common options are bankruptcy attorneys or bankruptcy petition preparers. An attorney can offer legal advice, prepare your documents and also represent you in court appearances, while a petition preparer can only prepare document. Although petition preparers can't offer advice or physical representation, they can help you through the most time consuming aspect of the filing process – the collection and preparation of required bankruptcy documents.

Ultimately, if you want to declare yourself bankrupt using an attorney, it's best to set up some initial consultations rather than hiring the first person you meet. Sitting down with an attorney in person is a great way to get to know their style and their ability to help you through this difficult time. You want to ensure that the person you elect to hire is empathetic to your situation, and you may also ask them to refer you to other clients that they've successfully helped.