Connect with Tacoma bankruptcy lawyer, Erin M. Lane.
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy can provide the debt elimination solution that you are looking for. Not sure if you qualify or if it is the proper plan? Erin M. Lane and her experienced legal team can answer your questions and help determine if you meet the qualifications.
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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyers in Tacoma, WA helping you become debt-free.
Most people who file a Chapter 7 find that it is not as stressful as they imagined bankruptcy to be. Most Chapter 7 debtors only have to appear in at one hearing that lasts about five minutes. They find that there are no angry creditors or lawyers cross examining them and making them feel guilty. In fact, they are about as likely to find that the system is there to protect them from creditors and to make sure their attorney is doing a good job for them.
How does filing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Washington work?
Creditors can get paid in a Chapter 7 by taking property and selling it. This is quite rare because bankruptcy laws exempt necessary property from the liquidation process. A trustee is appointed who has the power to take over un-exempt property and sell it for creditors. The trustee can also undo recent payments to creditors or transfer of property.
This is of special concern if the debt payment or transfer was made to an “insider”, which usually means a family member or business partner. You should not pay a debt to an insider in the year before filing your case or give property away to an insider in the two years before filing bankruptcy. A trustee could sue that person to recover the property for creditors and exemptions no longer apply.
If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Tacoma, WA, can you keep your car?
If a Chapter 7 debtor is making payments on a car, house or other big ticket item, that property can be kept if the debtor keeps making payments. Debtors can “reaffirm” the debt. A “reaffirmation” is an agreement that is filed with the bankruptcy court. It is like a new contract and the debt is no longer included in bankruptcy. Debtors should be careful about signing this agreement because if they can’t make the payments, they will have a bankruptcy on their credit report and still have to pay the reaffirmed debt (assuming there is a balance left on the loan after the property is sold). Car companies can repossess cars even if the debtor stays current on the loan, though some finance companies do not exercise this right.
Chapter 7 debtors need to show that they are not abusing the bankruptcy system. They have to disclose all the income they received in the last six months on a “means test” form. If this income is more than the state median income for their household size, they have to fill out the rest of the means test. Expenses are deducted and if the means test shows that there is money available to pay creditors, there is a presumption that the debtor is abusing the bankruptcy system. This presumption can be overcome by convincing a bankruptcy judge that there are special circumstances, such as a recent job loss with little chance of a new job.
The case ends with a discharge. The discharge is a order prohibiting creditors from trying to collect debts, effectively wiping them out. A Chapter 7 usually stays on a credit report for 10 years. You cannot file another Chapter 7 for eight years. Some debt cannot be discharged, such as taxes, student loans, fines and domestic support obligations. The discharge is entered about three months after filing. In some circumstances, the case is held open longer so the trustee can investigate assets but that does not delay the discharge.
A skilled Washington State Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney from our team can help.
The Tacoma Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys from our law firm are here to help you wipe out your debts. We provide low flat fees as well as flexible payment plans in order to make experienced legal counsel more affordable for our clients. With your first free attorney consultation, we will go over your particular circumstances, answer your questions, and see if filing for bankruptcy is indeed your best solution to financial recovery.
Call for your FREE consultation today.
The Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers in Tacoma, WA from our firm are here to help. Connect with us for your no-risk case evaluation.
Questions? Email us today.
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