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Our Bankruptcy Services

Washington State bankruptcy lawyers handling all Chapter 7 and Chapter13 bankruptcy cases.

There are two primary kinds of "consumer" bankruptcy cases, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy cases and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy cases.

Chapter 7 Cases

Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases are typically referred to as "liquidation" cases. In our opinion, however, such a label is misleading. When many of our clients first hear the "liquidation" they assume that the bankruptcy court is going to come to their house and have a huge garage sale with everything they own. In reality, however, nothing could be further from the truth. Unless you have assets with significant value that cannot be exempt, most clients keep everything they own.

This is done by utilizing various "exemptions" in the bankruptcy code. A good Washington bankruptcy attorney knows exactly how much personal property can be exempted under the code. Our lawyers will work closely with you to exempt as much of your property as possible. Many of our Washington State Chapter 7 bankruptcy clients are able eliminate or "discharge" 100% of their debts while keeping 100% of their assets.

If you can qualify based on your income and monthly expenses, it is almost always best to pursue a Chapter 7 bankruptcy over a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This is because Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases are relatively quick, while Chapter 13 cases often take up to five years or sixty months. Additionally, in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, you typically pay your creditors nothing. 100% of your qualifying unsecured debts are completely discharged or "wiped out".

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Cases

Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases involve repaying some of your debts over time. The amount that you pay depends on a number of financial variables, including your income and the amounts that you owe your secured creditors. There are many reasons to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The first, frankly, is out of necessity. Many of our higher income clients simply cannot qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Additionally, if you are behind on your mortgage but you still have enough income to pay it every month after you stop paying your unsecured creditors, then a Chapter 13 bankruptcy gives you a chance to catch up on arrears by making monthly payments that you can afford. This is the crux of any Chapter 13 plan. It's really kind of "bankruptcy payment plan" for your debts.

After analyzing your finances, one of our bankruptcy lawyers will put together a payment plan following bankruptcy law guidelines. Your secured creditors get paid first. At the end of your payment plan, any remaining unsecured debts are wiped out.

This site is maintained by the government and the United States Bankruptcy Court. It is an excellent source of information about filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Is a Washington bankruptcy complicated?

Our Washington bankruptcy lawyers are often asked about the complexity of filing for bankruptcy. The simple truth is that it can be a very complicated process since the recent revisions to the Bankruptcy code. Our Washington bankruptcy lawyers will do everything possible to streamline the process and make it simple and straightforward.

But filing for bankruptcy now requires that many different financial documents be carefully reviewed and filed with the trustee reviewing your case. This can be a tedious process. But it is a very important one to ensure that your bankruptcy proceeds smoothly. Our Washington bankruptcy lawyers will do everything possible to guide you through each stage of your bankruptcy proceedings, beginning with explaining the exact financial documents that we need to properly prepare and file your bankruptcy petition.

Our Washington bankruptcy lawyers are thorough and detail oriented. It will be of great assistance to them in evaluating your case if you review the list of documentation below carefully. If you have any questions about these documents, we encourage you to talk with one of our Washington bankruptcy lawyers prior to your appointment.

What do I need to bring for my initial consultation?

Things we usually need for your first appointment are:

  1. Paystubs for the last 6 months, and any other sources of income for the last 6 months.
  2. Last 3 months bank statements for all accounts, checking and/or savings.
  3. All of your debts, such as payday loans, medical bills, collection notices, etc, that don't show up on credit reports.
  4. Your tax returns for the past two years. If you owe back taxes, we may ask you to get a Tax Account Transcript from the IRS for each year that you owe for.
  5. An idea of approximately how much you spend on monthly expenses.
  6. Copy of Drivers license and social security card.
  7. Copy of registration for all paid vehicles., copies of bills for any unpaid vehicles.
  8. Copies of all mortgage bills (if applicable), and any foreclosure documents.

We look forward to meeting with you and helping you get through a difficult time.

During our free consultations, we set out a plan to make paying our fees easy and affordable. We can give you advice on what debt should be your priority. When you learn just how much bankruptcy can help, you will feel a huge sense of relief. Your fees can be paid in easy installments and you will be able to see how you can get your case filed and take care of your debt once and for all.

If you are early enough in the process of considering bankruptcy, you will have a lot of flexibility. If you have been struggling to pay credit card debt but your debt does not seem to go anywhere, you can just stop making payments once you know you will file bankruptcy. If you are facing an emergency such as a garnishment, we may be able to work with you so you can pay your fees faster.

You can pay part of your Chapter 13 fees through your repayment plan. Part of your fees are paid “up front”. We do not get paid the portion of the fees you pay through your plan unless your plan is approved. If Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the best case for you, we can negotiate how much you need to pay up front depending on the particular issues in your case.

You can pay our fees with post dated checks or by giving us a debit card number. We will set out a payment plan and time frame that is best for your situation. We have years of representing our clients with understanding and compassion and realize that there are times when some flexibility is necessary. We can work with you if you are facing difficulty but it is best for you to have a solid plan for filing bankruptcy.

If at all possible, you do not want to wait until it is an emergency so we will try to keep you on track. You can also have a friend or family member pay your fees. If they do, we will make it clear to them that you are our client, not them. All our duties to keep your information confidential and to follow your goals must be maintained regardless of who pays your fees.

Client Reviews
Erin Lane is the best attorney I have met by far! I came to her during a very difficult time in my life. I was needing to file a bankruptcy. She was very kind, non-intimidating, and well-understood. She actually came across like a good friend. To this day I still remember and appreciate her (no-stressing approach) I deem Erin qualified for any position having to do with her knowledge in these types of legal matters! Keith D Wilson