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Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on the cheap

Columnist David Lazarus answers your consumer questions in this one-minute video.

Jane is behind the eight ball with her debt. She's looking at a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing.

Jane asks: Is there an easy and cheap way to do this?

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My answer: No, and yes. But be careful.

Chapter 7, unlike, say, Chapter 13, is intended to get rid of debt by selling off property. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy will reorganize your debt and hopefully make it more manageable.

There's nothing stopping you from filing for Chapter 7 on your own, but experts say it's not advisable.

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves the appointment of a trustee to dispose of your property. This can involve your house (but not always). It can also involve your car (but not always).

Basically, a process like this is complicated and you'll do best with some hand-holding from a bankrtupcy lawyer.

If you want to go your own way, though, check out Nolo.com. They've got a lot of good info on navigating the bankruptcy system.

For more, check out today's Ask Laz video.

If you have a consumer question, email me at asklaz@latimes.com or contact me via Twitter @Davidlaz.

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