Contact Seattle Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer, Erin M. Lane and her team for help today.
Need a fresh financial start? A Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be the debt relief option to achieve this, but individual circumstances are unique. Contact our law office for no-obligation consultation and learn what options may be right for you.
FREE consultation: (206) 686-6399
Email your questions.
The Washington State Chapter 7 bankruptcy process.
Of the two types of consumer bankruptcy, Chapter 7 is the cheaper and easier kind of case. The entire process usually lasts only 3-4 months. All collections, such as lawsuits, garnishments, phone calls, car repossessions and foreclosures have to stop as soon as you file. In the majority of cases, the only hearing you will have to attend is the meeting of creditors which is held about a month after you file.
At the meeting of creditors, you will meet with a trustee who will swear you in, take your testimony to verify that you are telling the truth about your bankruptcy and check whether you have any property that can be taken to pay your creditors. In most cases, creditors do not appear and you do not have to give up any property.
The property that is safe from the trustee and your creditors are “exempt”. The exemptions usually cover all the property a typical debtor owns. There are a variety of exemptions and you can chose between those found in Washington and federal law. They include homestead (for equity in your house), automobile, retirement accounts, a “wildcard” for cash and miscellaneous property and personal injury awards to name a few. It is a good idea to seek legal advice to make sure you protect your property.
At the end of the bankruptcy, you get a discharge. The discharge prohibits creditors from ever trying to collect from you again. There are some exceptions to the discharge, such as student loans, some back taxes, back child support and alimony and fines such as parking tickets. Making sure you know what debts are covered by the discharge is a reason why you should get the advice of a bankruptcy attorney before filing your case.
How do I qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Seattle, WA?
To qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you need to be below the median income or show why you cannot afford to pay your debts using a means test if you are above the median income. The means test can be fairly complicated and that is yet another reason why it is a good idea to speak with Seattle Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys from our law firm if you are considering filing.
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, you can keep a car or a house if you can keep making the payments. Otherwise, you can surrender them and walk away from the debt. The creditor will want you to sign a reaffirmation agreement. This is a serious decision because if you sign a reaffirmation agreement, you are on the hook for the loan – it is not discharged.
If a car is repossessed after bankruptcy, for instance, you could be left with a large deficiency balance on the car loan even though you filed bankruptcy if you sign the reaffirmation. However, some car companies will repossess your car even if you are current without the reaffirmation.
Seattle Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers from our offices will help you decide your options.
Sometimes it makes more sense to file a Chapter 13, even if you are below the median income. Examples would be where your license is suspended for unpaid tickets, you have back child support, you are behind on a mortgage and want to keep your house or you have property that is not exempt. It is important that you discuss your choice with the Seattle Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers from our firm to make sure you are filing for the best option that your situation dictates.
The benefits of filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy:
- Discharges (wipes out) unsecured debts such as credit card as well as medical bills (unsecured debts are debts without collateral).
- Discharges all of your unsecured, qualifying debts so you have no more payments on them.
You walk away debt free where you can afford your monthly expenses again.
- Discharges judgments from lawsuits where the underlying debts are medical debts, credit cards, payday loans, broken apartment leases, car repossession debt, debts from unemployment and social security income over-payments, etc.
- Discharges certain tax debts.
- Enables you to discharge your mortgage debts if you surrender your home, but does not allow you to keep your home if your discharge the mortgages and stop paying paying them. The same is true if you surrender your car and discharge the automobile loan.
Our affordable Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers in Seattle, WA will evaluate your financial situation to determine if you meet the income requirements to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Our law firm offers inexpensive low flat fees and payment plans that are affordable for virtually any budget.
Call our Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys in Seattle, WA for your FREE initial consultation.
The Seattle Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers from our offices are here to help you become debt free! We offer inexpensive low flat fees. Learn what your best options are by calling us today for your free initial consultation.
Need help? Email us today.