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Lawyer sanctioned in bankruptcy filing

People in Florida who are filing for bankruptcy may want to make sure that they supply their lawyer with original signed documents. In California, an lawyer was sanctioned when he was unable to back up electronically signed documents with original signatures.

The law in this lawyer’s district permitted electronic signatures for electronically filed documents. However, the lawyer was also supposed to have documents on file for three years that had the so-called “wet” signatures as well.

The lawyer claimed that the documents were originally signed and not electronically signed using DocuSign. This would preclude the need to have the originals on file in the lawyer’s office. However, the court said that the signatures were indeed electronic. As a result, the lawyer was required to attend an online e-filing training course. The Office of the United States Trustee had brought the motion against him.

As this case demonstrates, preparing to file for bankruptcy can be a complex process, and small errors may delay the filing. A person who is considering bankruptcy may want to discuss any potential misconceptions they have about the process with their lawyer. For example, some people may think that filing bankruptcy means losing all their assets, but they might be eligible to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy and arrange a payment plan that allows them to keep their house and other property. Another misconception is that people file for bankruptcy because they are irresponsible. People may fall into debt for a number of reasons including illness, divorce and job loss. Bankruptcy may be the most responsible choice in many of those circumstances.

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