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About Olympia Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
What is a Chapter 7 bankruptcy? A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is often referred to as a “liquidation” bankruptcy or a “fresh start” bankruptcy. Our Olympia Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys are here to assist you in fully understanding your legal rights and options when it comes to filing this type of bankruptcy. If you are able to qualify, pursuing an Olympia Chapter 7 bankruptcy is typically your best option.
Why? Because the process is relatively quick. It takes about 90 to 120 days once your petition is filed. And, it completely wipes out all of your qualifying debts. Federal law allows people who are struggling financially to get court protection under federal bankruptcy laws. It will immediately stop all creditors, except domestic support obligations or criminal proceedings.
In many cases, our Olympia Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers are able to qualify our clients so that they wipe out 100% of their unsecured debts while keeping 100% of their property and assets. Unsecured debts are things like credit card bills, medical bills, utilities, repossession debts, lawsuits, and many other similar debts.
If you have debts that are secured by property, such as a house, or vehicle, you may be able to retain these, if you are able to continue making the payments. One of our Olympia bankruptcy attorneys will be happy to explain which of your debts qualify during your initial consultation. Let our Olympia Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys help you determine if you can qualify for Chapter 7 protection and relief. Contact us for a free Chapter 7 case evaluation. With our affordable low flat fees and flexible payment plans, the only thing you have to lose is your debt.
Our Thurston County, WA Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers will help you know if you qualify.
You cannot file a Chapter 7 if you filed a previous one in the past 8 years and got a discharge of your debts in that previous case. However, don’t despair if you filed a previous Chapter 7 in the past 8 years. You may qualify to do a small payment Chapter 13 plan (often as low as $100 per month for 36 months), if you have not filed a Chapter 7 within the previous 4 years.
Chapter 7 is available to people that have no income or limited income from a job, retirement or other source. They also must show that they do NOT have some “disposable income” each month. That is, after paying for rent, food, utilities and other expenses they have no money left, or show negative.
There are no debt limits on a Chapter 7 as to the amount of debt.
The law requires that if you have do have some steady disposable income, that you must pay your creditors back at least some of what is owed through a reorganization bankruptcy. In a Chapter 7, you will work with our staff and lawyers to meet your financial goals, and free up as much income as possible each month for you.
When should I think about filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy?
If you are struggling each month to pay all your bills and you don’t expect your income situation to get significantly better any time soon, the creditors are calling all day, or you are looking at a foreclosure, repossession, or an IRS levy on your assets, then you may want to seriously consider all of your options, including bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy is a very powerful legal tool, but it is a federal court case, and takes thorough preparation. Our Olympia Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers focus on bankruptcy law, and we will prepare your case, answer all of your questions, go to court with you, and walk you through the process to make sure it goes smoothly.
Can I save my house?
Yes, but with limits. A Chapter 7 plan can IMMEDIATELY stop a foreclosure, but it will not do so permanently. It can act as a stalling mechanism, and buy you time to find other options. If you surrender your house in a bankruptcy, it will discharge all of the mortgage debt on the house, and you can walk away.
Will bankruptcy stop repos, garnishments and judgments?
Yes, immediately after you file. We can stop garnishments, eradicate judgments, and stop your vehicle from being repossessed. However, you will need to catch up on missed car payments very soon, or after a short while the court will give the lender permission to continue the repossession. Call now for a free Chapter 7 case evaluation, and let us help you understand your legal rights. The Olympia, WA Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers from our firm offer clients affordable low flat fees, as well as flexible payment plans.
Will it get rid of all my debts?
Chapter 7 will get rid of (discharge):
- Credit cards.
- Unsecured lines of credit.
- Medical bills.
- Payday loans.
- Utility bills.
- Cell phone bills.
- Most income taxes over 3 years old, if you have filed tax returns.
- And much more!
Chapter 7 bankruptcy typically will NOT discharge:
- Student loans – Unless you can prove a long-term undue hardship that will not change, and that you made a good faith attempt to pay the student loans back.
- Criminal restitution.
- Fines and traffic tickets.
- Personal injury or death caused while you were under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other substances.
- Most taxes.
- Domestic support obligations.
- Secured debt, like vehicle loans and mortgages (you will need to pay to keep).
What if I owe taxes?
Many income taxes can be discharged in a Chapter 7 if they are older than 3 years old, were filed within the past two years, and there has been nothing like a due process appeal or appeal to the tax court that would stop the 3 year “clock” from ticking. The rest of the taxes are considered “priority” debt, and usually must be paid in full after your case is over.
What is I owe back child support / spousal maintenance?
The new bankruptcy laws allow those types of creditors to keep garnishing you. You will still owe child support, spousal maintenance after you get your discharge.
My vehicle is about to be repossessed, can Chapter 7 help?
Absolutely! Filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy IMMEDIATELY stops all collection attempts, including repossessions. You will be able to surrender the vehicle back, reaffirm it (that is, agree in writing in the bankruptcy court that you will still owe the debt), or redeem it (get a new bank to lend you money to pay just the retail value of the vehicle to the old lender, and start over with a new loan.
It is very important to stay current on vehicle payments (before and AFTER you file your case), because sometimes lenders will want the vehicle back and will not work with you.
I lost my driver’s license, can Chapter 7 help?
Yes. In many cases we are able to help our clients get their licenses back. If you lost your license due to unpaid debts other than fines and tickets, that kind of debt can usually be discharged in the bankruptcy and allow you to get your license. However, if you lost your license because of tickets and fines, you need to pay these back. We do offer a Chapter 13 plan alternative that may allow you to do this.
Get in touch with us for a free Chapter 7 case consultation, and get firm understanding of your legal rights. With the affordable low flat fees and flexible payment plans our firm provides, we make it as easy as possible for you to get back on your financial feet again.
Will I lose my house, car, or other possessions?
Probably not. In a Chapter 7, each person that files is allowed certain “exemptions” under law that allow them to keep up to a certain value in clothing, household goods and furniture, equity in a home, and many other assets.
If you owe more on something than it is worth, it means you have no equity in it. If you own something outright, it means you have 100% equity in it. Usually people owe more on their houses and cars than they are worth, so as long as they can keep paying on those things, they can keep them.
Sometimes people have equity in a house. Washington State exemptions can protect a house up to $125,000 in equity. Vehicles are protected up to $3,450 in equity if you use the federal exemptions, one exemption per person, per vehicle.
There is a long list of exemptions to protect your property, and your attorney will work with you closely to protect everything possible. If you have unprotected assets, you can give them up to the Trustee who administers your case; work with your attorney to find ways to covert them to exempt assets; or sell them or trade them before you file. It is usually fraud to give something away or sell it for a ridiculous price. It is a federal felony to hide assets in a bankruptcy.
So talk to us right away, before you transfer or sell anything. We can help you do everything right and legally. We can even help you do a Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead, and keep all of your assets, so long as you can qualify.
Is my retirement safe?
Yes. IRA’s, 401(k)s and pensions are exempt. Your lawyer will review these to make sure they are safe.
I am going to get a lot of money from a settlement or inheritance, but I need help now. What do I do?
If you are expecting an inheritance or a large settlement, discuss this with your attorney. It may make more sense to file a chapter 13 bankruptcy and protect that asset.
Will it hurt my credit?
A bankruptcy will stay on your credit report up to 10 years after the date of filing. After you complete your case, your debt problems will be fixed, and you will be a safer credit risk than you were before you filed. Your debt-to-income ratio will improve, because most or all of your debts will be gone permanently. Most of our clients are able to rebuild their credit relatively quickly after filing a bankruptcy, and if they find good income, that greatly speeds up the process.
Call today, and ask about our flexible payment plans and low flat fees.
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy can help you in many ways. Our Olympia Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers are here to explain the law so that you are able to make an informed decision about what is best for you and your children. Call us today for a free consultation with one of our bankruptcy professionals, so that we can show you what a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can do to help you get a new start in life. We provide low flat fees to fit your budget, as well as flexible payment plans that you can make.
Our Thurston County, WA Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers handle all Olympia, WA cases. Call us for help today.
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