Bankruptcy Lawyers Serving Tacoma, WA
Tacoma bankruptcy lawyer, Erin M. Lane
FREE phone consultation: (253) 444-5869
An experienced Washington State bankruptcy attorney can help.
Filing for bankruptcy in Washington State may be the debt relief solution you need. Bankruptcy can be a fairly easy and reliable way of putting your life back in order once you have gotten in over your head in debt. If this sounds like you, the Tacoma bankruptcy attorneys from our firm are here help.
Carrying an impossible debt load can make planning a future impossible. It can sap your motivation to work and plan for making purchases. It could happen to anybody. If everyone in who is drowning in debt were not allowed some kind of relief, the economy would suffer as a whole. Businesses are allowed to file bankruptcy so they can continue to pay their employees, create wealth, invest and make purchase. Consumers and workers are also allowed to start over with a bankruptcy in Tacoma, WA so they continue to participate in the formal economy with stability and dignity. The bankruptcy lawyers serving Tacoma, WA from our firm are here to aid you in getting back on your feet - contact us today.
Stop debt collectors with bankruptcy in Tacoma, WA.
The first way bankruptcy helps is by freezing all debt collection the second you file. The bankruptcy court enters an “automatic stay” which stops all debt collection without having to go to court. The automatic stay lasts for the bankruptcy duration. This allows debtors to reorganize their affairs without creditors frustrating their efforts. The stay stops all foreclosures, repossessions, law suits, garnishments, utility cut offs and the placement of liens on property, just to give some examples. It can even reinstate a drivers license that has been suspended for debt.
At the end of bankruptcy, the court enters a discharge, which permanently wipes out debt. Some debt is excluded from the discharge such as back child support and spousal maintenance, fines, some back taxes and student loans. The automatic stay stops tax collection and student loans while you are in bankruptcy but after you have reorganized your finances these creditors can continue collecting. Most often, only back taxes that are less than three years old are not discharged.
What is the first step to filing for bankruptcy in Tacoma?
A bankruptcy starts by filing a “voluntary petition” with the bankruptcy court. A trustee is appointed to administer your case. You will most likely only have to attend one short hearing called a “meeting of creditors”. This hearing is fairly informal. It is not held in a courtroom in front of a judge but with the trustee, who is usually just another bankruptcy attorney who works for the US Department of Justice. Creditors rarely appear. Most likely you will just have a five minute hearing with only yourself, your Tacoma bankruptcy attorney and the trustee present. In some cases issues have to be decided by a bankruptcy judge but those cases are in the minority.
While in bankruptcy, the trustee takes over your “bankruptcy estate”. That is all the property that the trustee can investigate to see if it can be used to pay creditors. Most property is protected by bankruptcy exemptions. The law allows the majority of people who file bankruptcy in Tacoma to keep their property for an effective fresh financial start. Many people fear that bankruptcy is a disaster and they will be left with almost nothing after going through the process.
Most people in Tacoma realize that nobody in the court system is interested in judging them and bankruptcy laws are more than adequate to protect the property they need to care for themselves and their family. While in bankruptcy, the debtor is not allowed to dispose of any property until the case has been resolved. Creditors are not allowed to take action against property either, unless they have a good reason and can convince the bankruptcy judge of that.
The differences of Chapter 7 & Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
The two types of bankruptcy available to most consumers are: Chapter 7 & Chapter 13. A Chapter 7 is quick – the typical case lasts about three months. It is known as a liquidation bankruptcy because unexempt property can be “liquidated”, or sold for cash to pay creditors. The bankruptcy exemptions usually cover a debtor’s home, car, cash, household goods, etc. A trustee can also take over as part of the “bankruptcy estate” money that was paid to creditors in the last 90 days (one year for “insiders” like family members and business partners).
Also included in the bankruptcy estate is money transferred to insiders in the past two years. Exemptions do not apply to these transfers and debt payments. Any right to receive money, such as a debt owed to you, a tax refund or a money from a law suit is also part of the “bankruptcy estate”, whether the tax return or lawsuit is filed or not. Most Chapter 7s do not have such complications but the debtor must attend the meeting of creditors and cooperate with the trustee’s investigation. Do you have questions about this process? Call our bankruptcy lawyers serving Tacoma, WA today.
Chapter 7 Tacoma bankruptcy attorneys from our law firm can aid you.
A Chapter 7 debtor must also show they're not abusing the bankruptcy system. That means filling out a “means test” to show their income isn't enough to pay their debts. If you make over the median income for your household size, you must complete the means test, which deducts legally defined expenses in a fictional budget. If there's money left over, you may be accused of “abusing the system”. Your case can be dismissed, but our Tacoma bankruptcy attorneys can assist in converting your case to a Chapter 13 repayment plan if that happens.
Stop home foreclosure - speak with our Chapter 13 Tacoma bankruptcy lawyers today.
Chapter 13 takes longer and is more complicated. However, a Chapter 13 can accomplish a lot of things a Chapter 7 can not. It can aid you in catching up on a delinquent mortgage and stay out of foreclosure. You can consolidate a car loan, taxes, back child support or alimony. Our bankruptcy lawyers serving Tacoma, WA can aid you in protecting property that could be lost in a Chapter 7 liquidation. Some debt that can not be discharged in a Chapter 7 can be discharged in Chapter 13. You pay anywhere from 0% to 100% on “general unsecured debt” in a Chapter 13 depending on how much is affordable.
This class of debt includes credit cards, signature loans, deficiencies on cars that have been repossessed and medical debt to name a few examples. Any debt that is not paid in an approved Tacoma Chapter 13 plan is discharged, as long as the discharge applies. As with a Chapter 7, student loans and fines can not be discharged. Back taxes, child support and spousal maintenance can not be discharged but it must be paid through the plan so it will not be left at the bankruptcy end.
FREE phone consultation with our experienced Tacoma bankruptcy attorneys.
We will address your bankruptcy questions such as these and more.
- Is qualifying for a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy in Tacoma, WA difficult?
- Is it expensive to file bankruptcy in WA? Ask about our flat low fees plus affordable payment options.
- Will I be able to keep all of my possessions in a bankruptcy?
- If I file a Tacoma bankruptcy will I lose my car?
- Will I be able to eliminate all of my medical debt by filing bankruptcy?
- Can filing for bankruptcy in Tacoma I get rid of all my credit card bills?
- How can I stop my home foreclosure?
- Can I get an automatic stay in Tacoma, WA?
- How do I stop or prevent my wages being garnished?
- If I have pay day loans, will those be wiped out with my Tacoma bankruptcy too?
Allow our experienced Tacoma bankruptcy attorneys to help you get back on your feet again. We are here to address your bankruptcy questions with a free phone consultation to get you started. We serve Puyallup, Spanaway, Gig Harbor, Lakewood, University Place, Fircrest and additional cities throughout Pierce County and WA.