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Seattle bankruptcy lawyer, Erin M. Lane and her team can help you protect your assets
Most people who file bankruptcy can keep all of their property from being sold by the trustee to pay creditors because the exemptions that protect this property are fairly generous. In Washington State, a debtor can choose either state or federal exemptions.
The exemptions that allow you to keep property are there to give you a meaningful fresh start. Allowing you to get rid of some debt would not be much of a fresh start if the bankruptcy courts took your necessities. There are exemptions for various kinds of property – for equity in a home, for cars, retirement plans, household goods and personal injury awards for example. The Seattle bankruptcy lawyers from our firm can explain the different exemptions and answer your questions.
Our Washington State bankruptcy attorneys will cover your options with you – call for a free phone consultation: (206) 686-6399
The Washington exemptions are more generous for real estate – you can protect up to $125,000 in equity in your home. Note that this only applies to your home, not rental property or other real estate. Federal exemptions are more generous for cash or miscellaneous property – your federal “wildcard exemption” is $11,975 (double that for joint cases) but only $1,500 for cash in Washington ($3,000 overall).
Car exemptions are $3,250 for Washington and $3,450 using the federal exemptions. Under both Washington and federal exemptions, retirement plans are 100% exempt. There are many different kinds of exemptions and it is important to contact our experienced Seattle bankruptcy lawyers for advice on whether to use federal or Washington State exemptions.
Protecting personal property in a Washington State bankruptcy can be complicated.
If you have property that cannot be protected in a Chap. 7 bankruptcy using the exemptions, you can protect this property by filing Chap. 13 bankruptcy. The rule is that you have to make payments to the unsecured creditors with the same amount that they would’ve received with a Chap. 7 bankruptcy. Unsecured creditors are creditors that are not backed up by property, such as medical or credit card bills.
For instance, if you had $30,000 in property that is not exempt, you would need to pay $500 per month for five years (plus administrative expenses and secured debt payments, such as a car loan, and “priority debt” such as taxes and back child support).
To keep property you are making payments on, such as a car or a house, you have to keep making the payments. In Chap. 7 bankruptcy, you pay the debt as always. With Chap. 13 bankruptcy, you can consolidate the debt with the rest of your debts. Chap. 13 bankruptcy also allows you to strip second mortgages from homes or pay less than your contract payment on a car.
If you think you have property that is at risk, you should get an appraisal. With Chap. 7 bankruptcy, if the trustee thinks he or she can sell the property, the trustee gets a chance to do so. Selling the property can take a long time in some cases. It may in fact not be possible to convert your case to Chap. 13 bankruptcy once a Chap. 7 bankruptcy trustee decides to sell your property, though often the bankruptcy judge will allow it.
Overall, most debtors simply don’t have anything to worry about when it comes to keeping their property in a bankruptcy. However, it’s a great idea to talk it over with the experienced Washington State bankruptcy attorneys from our Seattle law firm for a free consultation.
Call our bankruptcy lawyers in Seattle, WA today: (206) 686-6399
Consumer bankruptcy will allow you to protect a generous amount of real and personal property while discharging all or a substantial amount of your unsecured debts. Bankruptcy filers in Washington State can use either the federal or Washington State bankruptcy exemptions to protect your personal assets. You should choose the set of exemptions that best protects your property given your specific property and financial situation. The Seattle bankruptcy lawyers from our firm can help you with this decision.
The most common reason to use the Washington State exemptions is if you have a significant amount of equity in your house. The Washington State exemptions has a homestead exemption that protects up to $125,000 of equity in your house. It will also protect a significant amount of household items, equity in your car, jewelry and other personal items.
The federal bankruptcy exemptions will protect a greater amount of cash and other personal property, but a significantly lower amount of equity in your house. Both the Washington State and federal bankruptcy exemptions protect 100% of your assets that are in retirement accounts. Contact the Washington State bankruptcy attorneys from our Seattle firm today to learn which best options are suited for your situation.
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Our Washington State bankruptcy attorneys are here to help you protect your personal property and start fresh! Ask about our inexpensive low flat fees, and talk with the Seattle bankruptcy lawyers from our firm for your free consultation today.
Seattle bankruptcy lawyers: (206) 686-6399
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