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How To File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy In Washington State

You Must Attend A Creditors Meeting

Chapter 7 Verses Chapter 13 Bankruptcy – Washington State Bankruptcy

About a month or so after you file, you will need to attend a creditors meeting where a trustee will ask about the information you submitted you will have to answer under oath. This meeting is known as the 341 meeting.

Within two months of attending the creditors meeting, you must complete a financial counseling course. After youve received budget counseling, you wait to receive a discharge of your debts from the bankruptcy court.

Many people who file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can retain all their assets. However, you cannot sell or give away any property without clearing it with the trustee during this time. Most bankruptcy cases generally receive a discharge order from the court about 60 days after the initial creditors meeting.

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Alternatives To Bankruptcy For Washington Business Owners

If you would like to explore other debt-relief options, our team at Henry& DeGraaff can help you determine which path may be the most effective. One alternative may be a receivership, the goal of which is to return a company to profitability. We may also be able to negotiate with your creditors on your behalf and settle your debt. In many cases, creditors can be highly motivated to avoid bankruptcy, which rarely allows them to recover what is owed.

How Long After I Move Do I Have To Wait Before I Can File

The general rule is that you need to have lived in your new state for the majority of the past 180 days to file bankruptcy in the new state. There is no specific rule for exactly when to start your 90-day residency count, rather the court will look to verify your claimed state of residency with information that you provide in your official bankruptcy paperwork. There is also no specific document to prove your residency. If challenged, you can use documents like your apartment lease agreement or utility bills to show how long youâve lived in the state. If you have not been in your new state for the minimum period, the best course of action is to postpone filing until the 90 day threshold has passed. The only alternative is to file bankruptcy in the state you lived before, which comes with its own complications, such as having to travel back for your .

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What Happens To Property You Can’t Exempt In A Washington Bankruptcy

It will depend on the chapter you file. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you lose property not covered by an exemption. The bankruptcy trustee responsible for managing your case will sell the property for the benefit of your creditors. In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can keep all of your property however, that luxury comes at a priceliterally. You’ll pay your creditors the value of any property not covered by an exemption in your Chapter 13 repayment plan.

For example, say you own a car outright worth $3,000, and your state has a vehicle exemption of up to $5,000. Here’s what would happen in each chapter.

  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will get to keep your car because the exemption would protect the equity fully. In the same example, if your vehicle were worth $15,000, the bankruptcy trustee would sell your vehicle, pay you $5,000 for the exemption, and distribute the rest to your unsecured creditors.
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. In Chapter 13, you wouldn’t need to pay extra to your creditors through your repayment plan. However, if the car were worth $15,000, you’d need to pay your creditors at least $10,000 through your plan.

Keep in mind that these examples don’t take into account a vehicle loan. You’ll find more information below.

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Washington State Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Exemptions

How to File Bankruptcy in Washington

There are a lot of ins and outs to State exemptions, so you should always consult with a bankruptcy attorney to determine if your assets are protected through bankruptcy.

You can find the Washington State Chapter 7 bankruptcy exemptions which are codified in the Washington Revised Code under: RCW 6.13, RCW 6.15, RCW 6.27, RCW 51.32, RCW 50.40, RCW 48.18, RCW 6.48, RCW 74.04, RCW 6.32, RCW 68.24, RCW 41.28, RCW 41.26, RCW 41.20, RCW 41.24, RCW 41.40, RCW 41.32. The bulk of the Washington State exemptions are RCW 6.15 and RCW 6.13.

In Washington State, people filing bankruptcy have the choice to use either State or Federal exemptions to protect their assets. Most people that file bankruptcy actually use the federal exemptions which are different values and are codified under federal law at 11 U.S.C. Section 522. Your attorney when planning the bankruptcy filing chooses either State or Federal exemptions, whichever best protects your assets.

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You Can Protect Property In A Washington Bankruptcy Using Either Washington’s Exemption Laws Or The Federal Exemptions

By Cara O’Neill, Attorney

Bankruptcy promises a fresh startand it works. You’ll straighten out your finances and keep the things you need to work and live. But “exemption laws” protect essential property only, not unnecessary luxury goods. To prevent a costly property loss, you’ll want to learn about:

  • choosing between Washington’s exemptions and the federal bankruptcy exemptions
  • what will happen to property you can’t protect with an exemption, and
  • whether you’ve lived in Washington long enough to use Washington’s bankruptcy exemptions.

The information below will help. If you’d like to check for other common issues in your bankruptcy case, try using the ten-question bankruptcy quizit will flag areas you’ll want to look into further. Or, if you’d like an exemption overview, read Bankruptcy Exemptions What Can I Keep When I File for Bankruptcy?

Can I File For Bankruptcy After Moving To A New State

5 minute read â¢Upsolve is a nonprofit tool that helps you file bankruptcy for free.Think TurboTax for bankruptcy. Get free education, customer support, and community. Featured in Forbes 4x and funded by institutions like Harvard University so we’ll never ask you for a credit card.Explore our free tool

In a Nutshell

Yes, you can file bankruptcy after moving, but it may get a little more complicated. If you’re moving to a new state, or have recently moved, youâll need to know which bankruptcy property exemptions now apply to you. In this article, we will discuss the timing issues and other factors that may accompany a recent relocation.

Written byAttorney Andrea Wimmer.

Yes, you can file bankruptcy after moving, but it may get a little more complicated. In this article, we will discuss the timing issues and other factors that may accompany a recent relocation.

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What Do Washington Bankruptcy Records Contain

Because a bankruptcy case is targeted at solving financial problems, most data or information involved are financial. As a result, Washington bankruptcy records primarily contain the voluntary petition used to commence a bankruptcy claim or action. This petition provides details on the debtor’s properties, assets, income, and owed creditors’ names and addresses. However, although the information in these records is predominantly financial, they may vary depending on the type or chapter of the bankruptcy case filed with the court.

Regardless, a general bankruptcy record will provide explicit information about the debtor’s other financial affairs, such as:

  • The entity’s most current federal income tax return
  • Statements of the entity’s checking, savings, and investment accounts
  • Payment advice or pay stubs

These documents usually have originally signed declarations attached to them. Additionally, the bankruptcy record will contain the proceedings of the 341 creditors’ meeting, the case status, and the court’s eventual ruling on the case.

Do You Earn Too Much Income To File A Chapter 7 Amounts To Increase On April 1 2021

Explaining Washington Chapter 7 Bankruptcy — Extended Version!

How much income can you earn and still for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy? Read the blog post below to find out.


As of April 1, 2021, the amount of income you can earn on average per year has increased under the bankruptcy “means-test.” In order to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your gross income must be under a certain amount. The bankruptcy court looks at the gross income you have received the 6 months prior to the month you intend to file for bankruptcy to determine whether you qualify to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. For example, if you intend to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in December, the court wants to know how much gross income you received from the month of June through the month of November. Below are the types of income that are included in the means-test and the types of income that are not included in the means-test equation.

Income that is NOT calculated in the means-test:

  • Payments you receive from Social Security

  • VA Disability Income.

Income that is calculated in the means-test:

  • wages, salary, tips, bonuses, overtime, and commissions

  • interest, dividends, and royalties

  • net income from rents and other real property income

  • pension and retirement income

  • regular contributions to the household expenses of the debtor or the debtors dependents, including child or spousal support

  • regular contributions by the debtors spouse

  • unemployment compensation

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What Is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy In Washington

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is also known as the âwage earnerâs planâ. Individuals who file under this chapter have a regular income and are able to develop a payment plan. This enables them to repay either all the debts they owe or part of them within a 3 to 5 year period. In Chapter 13, payments are made to a standing trustee who distributes the payments to creditors according to the confirmed plans provided. This chapter will allow debtors to keep valuable property like a car or a home that could have been lost to a foreclosure or repossession. These are kept by the debtors if they can make the required payments to the creditors according to the bankruptcy laws.

Special Homestead Exemption Rules

The homestead exemption protects your ownership interest in your home. You’ll need to read your state’s homestead statute to determine the specifics, such as the amount of equity and acreage covered, whether the exemption protects a manufactured home, and if you need to file a homestead exemption with the county clerk. But in all states, the property must be your residence. Also, you’ll need to comply with a federal timing lawhere’s the rule:

You must live in the home for more than 40 months before filing for bankruptcy. Otherwise, your homestead exemption is capped at $170,350 if you file on or after April 1, 2019 . This cap won’t apply if you bought your home with home sales proceeds from that state.

Find out more in Chapter 7 Homestead Exemption in Bankruptcy.

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Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Can Minimize Credit Damage

Any bankruptcy filing will result in a hit to the filers credit score, and a blot on their retail credit report. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing is the most damaging, with the bankruptcy case reported for 10 years after filing.

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy has less impact, with the bankruptcy case reported for 7 years after filing.

What To Do After Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Washington State

Push the re-start button on your financial life.

Thats the first thing anyone should do after having debts discharged in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Hopefully, that re-start button includes a plan for reduced spending and paying all bills on time.

The easiest way to do that is to draw up a budget that realistically accounts for your income and expenses.

If youre not good at that, call a nonprofit credit counseling agency and get some free assistance from their professional certified counselors. Helping consumers come up with an affordable monthly budget is their specialty.

They can give you the benefit of their training and experience at drawing up monthly budgets, plus tips on how to make the bottom line come out in your favor every month.

If you get in the habit of paying bills on time, you will begin to , and youll regain favor with lenders and credit card companies. A few years of good practice and you and your creditors will forget this ever happened.

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What Must I Do Before Filing Bankruptcy

You must receive budget and credit counseling from an approved credit counseling agency within 180 days before your bankruptcy case is filed. The agency will review possible options available to you in credit counseling and assist you in reviewing your budget. Different agencies provide the counseling in-person, by telephone, or over the Internet. If you decide to file bankruptcy, you must have a certificate from the agency showing that you received the counseling before your bankruptcy case was filed.

Most approved agencies charge between $40 $60 for the pre-filing counseling. However, the law requires approved agencies to provide bankruptcy counseling and the necessary certificates without considering an individuals ability to pay. If you can not afford the fee, you should ask the agency to provide the counseling free of charge or at a reduced fee.

If you decide to go ahead with bankruptcy, you should be very careful in choosing an agency for the required counseling. It is extremely difficult to sort out the good counseling agencies from the bad ones. Many agencies arelegitimate, but many are simply rip-offs. And being an approved agency for bankruptcy counseling is no guarantee that the agency is good. It is also important to understand that even good agencies wont be able to help you much if youre already too deep in financial tumble.

How To File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy In Washington State

The next step to filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Washington is to take the first of two required debtor education courses. The first course must be complete before you file your case. It is important to use one of the approved credit counseling agencies for this, and many will offer the opportunity to sign up and pay for both at the same time.

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Washington State Homestead Exemption

The Washington homestead exemption is generousmuch more so than the federal homestead exemption. You can use it to protect a house, condominium, mobile, or manufactured home serving as your principal residence however, spouses can’t double the amount. The exemption amount will depend on the home’s location:

Adams $216,900

To learn more, see The Washington Homestead Exemption.

Washington Bankruptcy Lawyer Cost

Who is a good candidate for Bankruptcy? – Washington State Bankruptcy

The cost of a bankruptcy lawyer in Washington state can range between $1,100 and $1,500. While many bankruptcy attorneys will offer an initial free consultation, it is also important to note that most bankruptcy attorneys will require all of the costs to be paid in advance of filing your case.

  • Attorney cost estimate: $1,100 â $1,200

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Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Can Save A Vehicle From Repossession

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing stops repossession of a vehicle, just like it stops a foreclosure. Past due car payments can be brought current over the term of the plan.

Unlike mortgage payments, car payments become part of the Chapter 13 plan payment. If the vehicle loan is over 910 days old, and the vehicle is worth less than the loan balance, the secured loan can be reduced to the value of the vehicle, and the balance can be treated as unsecured debt.

Costs To File Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: Cases for our lowest income and senior clients may receive a slight discount from our regular fees. Responsible and professional legal representation can be had for as little as $1,650. Most wage earners pay $1,650, and those wage earners with higher incomes will generally pay between $1,950 and $2,150. Business owners in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy generally pay at least $2,200. This fee can be higher depending upon the anticipated complexity or difficulties of the case in terms of preparation or representation. Rarely does any business owner case exceed $6,000. Generally, in most basic routine cases, we will start work on your case with the payment of $350. The remaining balance of the attorneys fee is due at your convenience, whenever you are ready to have us send your papers to the United States Federal Bankruptcy Court.

Bankruptcy is an excellent investment. There exists no better long-term investment than ridding your family of negative equity and expensive creditor payments. You will be happier, healthier and less stressed out after your bankruptcy case, because once again you will have hope for the future. We also help you arrange with the courts for a four-month postponement of the payment of the $306.00 Chapter 7 Bankruptcy court filing fee and the $281.00 court filing fee.

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy: . We are extremely competitive.

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Dealing With Your Car

If you have a car, or even if your name is on what you consider to be someone elseâs car, it is very important to make sure to properly list the vehicle in your schedules. When filing Chapter 7 in Washington, you will need to make a decision about what you plan to do with your car. The default is usually to plan to keep your car, but you should take this opportunity to think about what is the best decision. If you have a car, and you are behind on the payments without any hope of catching up, you do have the opportunity to surrender the car in your bankruptcy, which will relieve you of the obligation to keep making payments as well as any deficiency in your payments, late charge etc. If you are current on your car payments or you own the car outright and wish to keep it, you will need to also properly list the car in your exemptions schedule to protect the equity. To determine the equity in your car, you should first find out the current fair market value of the car based on its age and condition , and then subtract any outstanding loans you have on the vehicle. When filing bankruptcy in Washington you have the choice between taking either the state or federal exemptions, although when it comes to protection for your vehicle they are very close – under Washington State exemptions, you can protect up to $3,250 in one motor vehicle. Spouses filing jointly can each protect a vehicle ), whereas under federal exemptions you can protect up to $4,000 for your motor vehicle. ).


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