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Petition preparers are persons who are experts in preparing documents for bankruptcies. They usually conduct the business of drafting bankruptcy petitions. Petition preparers are not authorized to practice law. Petition preparers are also called as bankruptcy petition preparers, typing services and paralegals. They prepare the bankruptcy forms under the strict direction and control of a customer. In the prepared form they shall include their name and social security or tax identification number.
However, they cannot provide legal advice or represent their customer in bankruptcy court. Any person can be a petition preparer. In order to become a petition preparer, there is no educational, age, experience criteria, or any test as to background check.
Petition preparers must provide a written contract defining their services and fees. They must identify themselves as debt relief agencies by disclosing different kinds of bankruptcy and the associated procedures offered by them under the federal bankruptcy code. The fee collected by a petition preparer must be reasonable and it should be disclosed before the court, in the form of a fee disclosure statement. They must not use or advertise the term ‘legal’.
The following is an example of a federal statute defining the term bankruptcy petition preparer:
According to 11 USCS § 110 (a)(1), "bankruptcy petition preparer" means a person, other than an attorney for the debtor or an employee of such attorney under the direct supervision of such attorney, who prepares for compensation a document for filing.