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Filing for bankruptcy in Thurston County, WA can be a confusing process, and you are likely to have many questions. Why not speak with a professional to see if bankruptcy is right for you? Our Olympia, WA bankruptcy attorneys provide a free case consultation – give us a call today! We can help get you pre-qualified.
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Our Olympia, WA bankruptcy attorneys can help.
When someone finds themselves over their head in debt, it can be a terrifying time. Most people have heard of bankruptcy but do not know much about it. Sometimes bankruptcy just seems to be another word for disaster, but in fact, bankruptcy is an old and respected process for allowing someone to get out of debt in an orderly way.
Not only does it allow the honest, unfortunate debtor a financial fresh start, it provides a way for creditors to share fairly in any money that may be available to them through the bankruptcy process. Our Olympia bankruptcy attorneys are here to assist you in learning about your legal options and guaranteed rights. Our Olympia, WA bankruptcy lawyers can help you determine if you can qualify. Call for a free bankruptcy case evaluation, and be sure to inquire about our low flat fees and flexible payment plans. Our Olympia, WA bankruptcy lawyers handle all Thurston County Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy versus Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
There are two kinds of bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Our Olympia bankruptcy lawyers can help you decide which is best for you and your family.
If creditors get paid anything in a Chapter 7, it is through the liquidation of assets – property is taken and converted into cash and shared among creditors. In a Chapter 13, creditors get paid according to a three to five year payment plan. The amount they get paid through the plan depends on what kind of debt (a car loan, taxes, credit card, etc.) and how much the debtor can afford.
A bankruptcy case is started by filing a petition with the United States bankruptcy court. The petition and related documents list a debtor’s property, debts, income, budget and other details to show why they need protection from their creditors and a financial fresh start. The moment a bankruptcy case is filed, all collection activity must stop.
That includes foreclosures, repossessions, garnishments, harassing phone calls – even drivers license suspensions in most cases. Basically, any attempt to collect a debt from someone who has filed bankruptcy is illegal, and a creditor who tries to collect this debt can be sanctioned by the bankruptcy court. If this happens, one of our Olympia, WA bankruptcy lawyers should be alerted immediately.
What happens after my Olympia bankruptcy case is filed?
When a bankruptcy is filed, the court sends out notice to all your creditors and a trustee is appointment to administer the case. About a month after you file your case, you have to attend a “meeting of creditors.” Creditors do not usually appear at the meeting. Usually, the debtor only meets with the trustee, who has the power to swear you in and ask you some questions under oath to verify the accuracy of your petition.
Before the meeting, you have to provide the trustee with financial documents (pay stubs, tax returns, bank statements) to support the petition that was filed. A Chapter 7 trustee is mainly concerned with investigating whether you have any property that can be liquidated to pay your creditors.
This is why it’s critical to be candid and honest when you sit down with one of our Olympia, WA bankruptcy lawyers to discuss your options. Attempting to hide assets and falsely filing a bankruptcy petition is a very serious federal crime.
A Chapter 13 trustee examines your plan to make sure it complies with the law and can be completed within five years at the payment you propose. The Chapter 13 trustee will take monthly payments from you and divide those payments between your creditors according to the plan.
Get the personal attention your case deserves. Talk to one of our Olympia bankruptcy attorneys today!
Your first bankruptcy case evaluation is free, and you can see if you qualify. We provide flexible payment plans along with our affordable low flat fees to make the process as easy as possible.
How are my debts wiped out in an Olympia bankruptcy case? Our Olympia bankruptcy attorneys are here to help.
The end result of a bankruptcy is called a “discharge.” The discharge prohibits creditors from ever trying to collect this debt from you again. Some debts cannot be discharged. Examples of non-dischargeable debt include student loans, fines, back child support or alimony and some taxes.
You should seek the advice of an experienced bankruptcy professional to determine whether a certain debt is dischargeable. We are extremely familiar with state and federal bankruptcy laws, and our Olympia, WA bankruptcy lawyers are here to answer your questions.
Most people who file a Chapter 7 case never lose any property. A basic part of your fresh start in bankruptcy is the property that you need to go forward and lead a productive life. In Washington, we are especially fortunate that we can choose between federal and state exemptions, but deciding on that choice often requires the advice of an experienced bankruptcy attorney.
Under the state exemptions, you can protect up to $125,000 of the equity in your home. If you do not need to protect equity in your home, you can protect up to $11,975.00 of any sort of property under the federal “wildcard exemption”. Retirement plans are usually 100% exempt. Our Olympia, WA bankruptcy attorneys have years of experience guiding debtors through the best and most effective fresh start possible.
Let us help you to understand how filing for bankruptcy is your legal right. Now, bankruptcy certainly is not for everyone. If you can qualify, however, it probably warrants strong consideration. Let one of our Olympia bankruptcy lawyers help you decide if bankruptcy is the best option for you and your family.
Can I still file for bankruptcy under the laws? I thought that a lot of people were now disqualified from filing.
In 2005, Congress passed a law making it more difficult to file bankruptcy. The basics of bankruptcy law did not change; Congress just added some requirements to make sure the court knows all the facts of your situation and set out some requirements for filing a Chapter 7. A major change in the 2005 law is the new requirement of a means test.
If your household earns over the median income for its household size, you have to show that you cannot afford to pay back at least some percentage of your debt by filling out a means test. The median income threshold for the means test in Washington state changes frequently, but our Olympia bankruptcy attorneys stay on top of these changes and can advise you about your specific options based on your household’s income when you call our offices or sit down with us.
The means test only covers the past six months of income, so often the timing of filing your case is important. The means test sets out certain standard expenses, such as food and rent and allows other real world expenses, such as health insurance and child support. If you make over the average income but feel like you are drowning in debt, it is very important that you contact an experienced Olympia, WA bankruptcy lawyer to learn about your rights in bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases.
Some people with higher incomes have to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. If you have enough income to pay at least part of your debts, the law requires you to do so. As most people in financial distress know, it would be easy to pay the debts off over time if creditors would just work with you. A Chapter 13 plan requires them to work with you (within the boundaries of the law).
The Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan sets out a formula for paying your debt back with different classes of debt having a different order of priority. Secured debts, like car loans or mortgages, have a higher priority than taxes, which have a higher priority than credit cards (which would be a non-priority unsecured debt).
You can get caught up with mortgage arrears over five years in a Chapter 13. In many cases, you can totally remove a second mortgage from your house if your house is worth less than your current first mortgage. To learn more about how our how our Olympia, WA bankruptcy attorneys can help you save your home, we invite you to contact us for a free case evaluation.
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan is a powerful tool in many other situations. You can stop a foreclosure or a car repossession dead in its tracks and restructure those loans. You can include back taxes or child support in the Chapter 13 plan. If you have property that would be vulnerable in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can protect it by paying the amount that creditors would receive if the property was sold and the money distributed among them.
So, if you had an asset worth $30,000 that cannot be protected, you could pay $500 per month for five years to your creditors in a Chapter 13 plan instead. As long as you can get back on track with your debts within five years, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help you achieve your financial goals in an orderly, rational way. After you’ve made your best efforts to pay as much as you can through a Chapter 13 plan, whatever isn’t paid is discharged as with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
If you have purchased a car over 910 days before filing you Chapter 13, you can “cram down” the loan. That means you only pay back 100% of the value of the car and pay the rest as if it is unsecured. So, if the car is worth $12,000 and the loan is $22,000, you pay $12,000 back to the creditor and $10,000 at the same percentage as the rest of your unsecured debt.
If your budget doesn’t allow you to pay all your debt in a Chapter 13 plan, the rest is wiped out. Even if you have a high income and should pay 100% of your debts, a Chapter 13 plan will put you in charge – you know when the plan is finished and you won’t have to worry about bill collectors again.
Bankruptcy law has been part of the federal justice system since the writing of the US Constitution. You have a right to a fresh start as long as you meet certain qualifications – even people with high incomes can put a stop to bill collections and deal with it in bankruptcy.
Call our Olympia, WA bankruptcy lawyers for a free bankruptcy case evaluation.
Our Olympia, WA bankruptcy attorneys can help you get the fresh start your deserve. Let us help you determine if you can qualify, and take advantage of the affordable low flat fees and flexible payment plans our law firm provides. Call our Olympia, WA bankruptcy lawyers today:
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