Bellevue
Photo of Attorney Erin Lane
Attorney Erin Lane Partner
Wipe Out Your Debts. Keep Your Property.

Cars and Bankruptcy in Bellevue

In Bellevue, your car is one of your most vital possessions, especially if you commute to work or have children that need to get to and from school. Bankruptcy laws recognizes the importance of personal vehicles, so there are exemptions up to a certain dollar amount that protect them from seizure.

If the possibility of losing your car is keeping you from considering bankruptcy as an option, talk to one of our Bellevue car repossession lawyers and get the facts. Bankruptcy is designed to get you back on your feet financially while allowing you to maintain your dignity. Think of it as like hitting a reset button on your bills. For many people, losing their car would be catastrophic, which is why you have legal rights in regards to your possessions.

If maintaining ownership of your vehicle is important to you, our King County bankruptcy attorneys will work toward this goal.

Make sure you are aware of your legal rights with help from our Washington bankruptcy lawyers
  • If your car is entirely paid for, it is most likely covered by exemptions that protect its seizure
  • If you're still making car payments, you can maintain ownership of the vehicle if you choose to keep making payments
  • If you decide to pay off the current value of a car which was purchased with a secured loan, this process is called redemption
  • Chapter 13 bankruptcies make it possible to spread out your car payments over a three to five year period

If you're worried about losing your car as a result of filing for bankruptcy, you may be surprised that you have options to save your vehicle from this fate. Bankruptcy laws include an "automobile exemption," which protects cars valued at up to $3,500 from creditors. A federal wildcard exemption of up to $11,975 is also available, and there is another from the state valued at $3,000. These exemptions can be applied to vehicles that are paid for in full, and married couples are allowed to "stack" these exemptions.

If you're still making payments on the loan to your vehicle, you can choose to maintain payments and keep the car. When filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy you may be required to reaffirm the loan. A reaffirmation of the loan basically means that your car is no longer included as part of the bankruptcy, so you need to be certain about this choice.

Your King County bankruptcy lawyer can help you prevent the repossession of your car

In Washington State, you can pay off a loan in the amount of the car's value, which is called redemption. Redemption requires that a court motion be filed, and there may be some dispute regarding the actual value of the car. If the cars value is less than the amount you owe, the remainder is considered unsecured debt and will be eligible for discharge.

When filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Bellevue, you are allowed to pay off the car loan with monthly payments over the three to five year term of your debt consolidation. If at least 30 months have passed since you purchased your vehicle, you can "cram down" your loan. Cramming down a loan means you only pay the portion of the loan covered by the car's full value, plus any interest, which can save you a lot of money.

Contact a Bellevue bankruptcy attorney for a free consultation concerning your vehicle

You probably would have a hard time getting around without your car. Contact our law office in Bellevue today and find out more about maintaining ownership of your automobile when filing for bankruptcy. A Bellevue car repossession attorney from our law office can explain your options, and will make sure you understand your legal rights in regards to bankruptcy.