What is Bankruptcy in WA?

The United States Bankruptcy Code allows Washington residents, both individuals and other entities to discharge debt and obtain a fresh start by filing a Petition for Relief with the United States Bankruptcy Courts located in the State of Washington. An individual or couple filing jointly are allowed to keep all of their exempt assets, and cancel all of their dischargeable debt by filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

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How is bankruptcy in WA different from other states?

One of the most critical aspects of filing bankruptcy is the protection of exempt assets. In Washington State Debtors are allowed to choose between the Federal exemptions or the State exemptions depending which set of exemptions fits their needs. Residents of some of the surrounding states are limited to the use of state exemptions only.

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Are there different kinds of consumer bankruptcy in WA?

A consumer seeking bankruptcy relief may choose between a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, most debtors obtain a discharge of their debts without making any payments to a Trustee. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy monthly payments are made to the Chapter 13 Trustee who uses that money to pay part or all of the individual’s debt. Robert J. Reynolds P.S. can help you determine which chapter is best for you.

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Can I get rid of all my debt in a bankruptcy in WA?

Most debts are dischargeable, but a few are not. You cannot get rid of recent taxes, child support or alimony, student loans, or criminal fines and restitution. Robert J. Reynolds P.S. can advise you about your specific debts.

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Does a married couple have to file for bankruptcy in WA jointly?

Married couples can file individually or jointly. If a married person chooses to file individually all of the couple’s community property is subject to the proceeding and all of the community debts must be listed.

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What property can I keep if I file bankruptcy in WA?

A Chapter 7 and a Chapter 13 debtor can keep all of their exempt property. A Chapter 13 debtor can keep non-exempt property if the Chapter 13 plan provides a payment to unsecured creditors equal to the fair market value of the non-exempt property. Robert J. Reynolds P.S. can help you choose the exemptions that will be best for you.

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Will I lose my car or my house if I file bankruptcy in WA?

With proper planning very few debtors lose any property in a bankruptcy proceeding. You must continue to make the payments on the car or the house if you wish to keep them.

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Can I surrender a car for which I owe more than it is worth?

Yes, a bankruptcy eliminates the creditor’s ability to seek a deficiency judgment if the sale of the car does not bring enough to satisfy the loan against it.

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How will filing bankruptcy in WA affect my credit?

That is a difficult question to answer because every future creditor has a different credit policy. 1. Generally people who are considering bankruptcy already have bad credit so usually it can only get better. 2. If you already are making payments on a house, you can continue to make the payments and keep your house. Thus you will not need to get a new house loan for a few years. In that time period, you can make all of your remaining payments on time a start to rebuild your credit. 3. Your debt to income ratio will actually improve because most or all of your debt will be wiped out.

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How long will the WA bankruptcy remain on my credit report?

It will stay on your credit report for 10 years but it will not affect credit decisions for much more than 3-4 years. The most important elements of a credit decision will be your income at the time you apply and the amount of debt that you owe at that time.

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Will I lose my doctor if I file bankruptcy in WA?

The law requires that all of your creditors be listed but you can continue to pay any that you wish.

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I am current on all of my payments, but I am overwhelmed and just can't keep this up. Do I still qualify for bankruptcy in WA?

There is no fixed amount of debt required to be eligible for bankruptcy. Long term debt at a low interest rate is much more manageable than short term debt that is due immediately. As a general rule, if your are using payday loans, or using credit cards to pay other credit cards, you should definitely consult Robert J. Reynolds P.S. about your options.

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My driver’s license has been suspended for failure to pay traffic fines. Can bankruptcy in WA help me?

A chapter 13 would allow you to pay the fines over a period of 3-5 years, but you can have your license reinstated within a couple of weeks.

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My driver’s license has been suspended because I had an uninsured auto accident. Can a bankruptcy in WA help me?

Yes. The State of Washington will allow you to get a new drivers license a couple of weeks after we provide proof of the bankruptcy filing to Olympia.

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How long does a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in WA take?

You receive bankruptcy Court protection immediately upon the filing of your petition with a Washington based bankruptcy court. We can have your petition ready to be signed within a day or two of receiving all of the necessary information.

About 5-6 weeks after filing you will have a meeting with the Trustee which you must attend. You will receive your discharge in the mail 60 days after the meeting with the Trustee. The entire process usually takes about 4 months.

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How long does a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy take for individuals living in Washington State?

If you choose a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will have to choose whether to make your payments to the Chapter 13 Trustee over a period of 3 to 5 years. The attorneys at Robert J. Reynolds P.S. can help you decide what time period is best for you. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be filed in a Washington based bankruptcy Court within a couple of days of our receiving all of the necessary documents and information.

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Do I have to go to Court for my Bankruptcy in WA?

There is no Court appearance, but you must appear with picture ID and proof of your social security number at the Section 341 meeting with the Trustee. It will only take a few minutes and your attorney will be there with you. Usually no creditors show up, but you will be placed under oath and the Trustee will ask you questions about your assets and financial affairs.

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Can a bankruptcy filed in Washington lower my monthly payments on secured debt?

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is usually only appropriate to eliminate unsecured debt. You will probably need to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy if you need to adjust your secured debt or catch up on missed payments. In certain limited circumstances you can actually reduce the balance on a secured loan or reduce the interest rate.

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What happens to my Credit Score when I file for bankruptcy in WA?

Your bankruptcy will show on your credit report for a period of 10 years. Many people who file bankruptcy in Washington are surprised to learn that their credit score is not much worse after they file than before they filed. This happens for a couple of reasons. First, if you are considering this option, your score is probably already in trouble. Secondly, by wiping out your unsecured debt by a bankruptcy filing, you promptly improve your debt to income ratio. Regardless of your credit score, the reduction of stress and anxiety over unpaid bills can make it an easy choice.

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Can a bankruptcy in WA stop a garnishment, repossession, or foreclosure of Washington based property?

Yes. Immediately when you file bankruptcy, all garnishments issued by Washington State Courts and all foreclosures in process for property located in the State of Washington are automatically stayed (stopped). If you need time to catch up missed payments, a Chapter 13 can be used to spread missed payments over the time period of the Chapter 13 plan.

If you are not willing to use a Chapter 13 to make up back payments, a secured creditor can request Bankruptcy Court permission to continue with a repossession or foreclosure. Robert J. Reynolds P.S. can help you decide what the best course of action with respect to secured debt that is in a default status.

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Bankruptcy in WA Contact

If you have a more specific question, please feel free to contact us. Robert J. Reynolds is a WA bankruptcy expert who can answer your questions and guide you back to financial security.

I was in a hole financially, and I didn't know where to turn. I went in and talked to Mr. Reynolds about my situation. I was very impressed because Mr. Reynolds is bilingual and can speak Spanish. He told me not to worry about anything, that he would take care of everything, and he did. He completed all the paperwork and got my bankruptcy filed quickly. Mr. Reynolds really helped me out. I refer all of my Spanish speaking friends to him.

Diane A.

Zillah, WA