Chapter 7 Bankruptcy - Discharge of Debts
A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is a complete discharge of debts. At the end of the process you will be able to step away from the financial issues and start fresh. Generally, a Chapter 7 is the best option for people who are faced with an amount of debt that they have no hope of ever paying off. Whether it is medical debt, credit card debt, or personal loans this can be the best option for those who are hopelessly underwater. To qualify for this process you must satisfy the Means Test by having your six month average being less than the Washington median income.
It's important to understand that not all debts are dischargable under this process, this can includes child support debt, student loans, and tax debt. Also, if you are not current on your mortgage but wish to try and keep your home, a Chapter 13 may be the better option.
How long does this process take?
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is a relatively quick process compared with other types of legal proceedings. We strive to make sure that there are no issues which would delay your ultimate discharge and so the first stage is always preparing your bankruptcy petition to file. You have to list all of your debts and creditors along with any exemptions that apply to protect your assets. Once your petition is filed, the court will set a 341 meeting that is approximately one month out from the date of filing. The 341 meeting of creditors is a time when the bankruptcy trustee and anyone you owe money to can interview you about your finances. If there are no issues a discharge is then issued by the court and you are done! The entire process can be done in as little as 60 days, but it is important to have a knowledgeable attorney who can make sure your petition is completed correctly.
Will I lose everything?
It's important to note that Bankruptcy doesn't mean you have to start from scratch. Federal law and Washington State law both have exemptions for certain property to ensure that you have the ability to get back on your feet. Homestead exemptions protect up to $125,000 in equity in your home (that is market value less mortgage debt). A debtor can also exempt $3,250 in equity from one vehicle per spouse. There are many other exemptions, and an experienced bankruptcy lawyer can make sure you exempt everything that you are legally able to do.
I already filed Bankruptcy and I'm in trouble again.
We know that no one plans to have health issues that could wind up costing tens of thousands in medical debt or for a personal business to go under. That's why you are allowed to file a new Chapter 7 after eight years from the first matter is completed. If you previously filed a chapter 13 you need to wait 6 years before you can file for Chapter 7.
What will this cost me?
Unlike other bankruptcy attorneys, we here at Yakima Law, PLLC strive to provide transparent information so you can make an informed decision. The filing fee on a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is $306. This includes a $15 Trustee surcharge and a $75 Administrative fee. The attorney charges $1,200 in attorney's fees for Chapter 7. This means the total is $1,335. There are also three crdit counseling courses required that can be done online. We understand that this is a great deal of money, especially while times are already tough, and so Yakima Law is happy to discuss payment plans to reach your goal and become debt free. Many times the attorney can begin working on your case for only $200 down.
What if I don't qualify for a Chapter 7? Filing a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Payment Plan
Unlike a Chapter 7, the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is not an immediate discharge, instead it is a repayment plan. Upon filing your petition, all of your debts are immediately stayed which can provide much needed relief from the fear of foreclosure and collection calls. You will create a plan to repay some of all of the debts you have over a 3-5 year period. Once you complete the plan, anything remaining is discharged, leaving you with fresh start!
The Chapter 13 is the better choice when you have fallen behind on payments on your mortgage or wish to keep assets that would be lost during a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. A Chapter 13 is also a good solution to addressing non-dischargable debts that would not be included in a Chapter 7 discharge like back child support.
What if I've filed before?
You can file for a new Chapter 13 case two years after the filing date of your last discharge under Chapter 13. If you have filed a Chapter 7 discharge, you'll have to wait 4 years until you can file a Chapter 13.
How much does a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Cost?
Filing a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is a complex process due to the fact that we have to help create and negotiate a repayment plan that will satisfy the creditors and trustee. Because this is a process that takes several years to complete, the attorney will be right at your side to navegate any issues that could arise. Yakima Law, PLLC believes in open and transparent billing and offer the Chapter 13 for $4,000 in attorneys fees. We know that this is a great deal of money, the bright side is that most of this can be paid over the course of your plan. We ask for $2,000 down to begin work and then the rest is paid off over time. The filing fee for a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Yakima and Kittitas is $281.
How can Yakima Law help me?
Contact Yakima Law today to discuss how we can help you fix your finances. We offer a free Bankruptcy consultation. Yakima Law is committed to helping clients from all over Central Washington become debt free. We can even offer telephone or online consultations for those residing in Kittitas, Klickitat or the surrounding areas.