Seattle
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Attorney Erin Lane Partner
Wipe Out Your Debts. Keep Your Property.

Seattle Bankruptcy Lawyer

Seattle bankruptcy lawyers fighting for you, your family, and your financial future.

Do you look at your finances every month and see a hopeless situation? Anyone can fall behind on bills, but sometimes the downward spiral into financial oblivion becomes hopeless, and it can cause a great deal of stress and turmoil in your life. Even worse, falling behind on bills often leads to harassment from creditors and debt collectors who have no sympathy for your situation, and have no problem employing a number of deceitful tactics in an attempt to obtain money that you simply don't have.

Our Seattle bankruptcy attorneys routinely see how financial difficulties can damage a person's self worth, or even disrupt their family life. Bankruptcy laws in America were founded to protect people from the crushing pressure of uncontrollable debt, but few people understand these laws and have little knowledge of their legal rights as a debtor.

The stigma associated with bankruptcy in the United States is entirely unwarranted. The federal government wants you to be an active participant in our nation's economy, but if you're mired in debt this is impossible. Filing for bankruptcy in Washington State is like hitting a financial reset button. If you have questions about filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, our King County bankruptcy lawyers can help.

Now is the time to get a fresh start.

Filing for bankruptcy does not make you a failure, and it may be your best financial solution
  • The second you file for bankruptcy in Washington State, all collection activity is stopped dead in its tracks
  • Bankruptcy may not be the best option for you, but it costs you nothing to find out
  • Much or all of your unsecured debt can be discharged in its entirety when you file for bankruptcy
  • Your Seattle attorney will explain the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and help you determine which would be more beneficial
  • You don't have to let debt rule your life - let us help you take the first step

Seattle is a thriving port city and a multi-cultural metropolis located in the Great Pacific Northwest. Strategically located between the Cascade Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Seattle has a unique climate and weather pattern that is dictated by its dramatic geography and surroundings. The City of Seattle was founded or “incorporated” on December 2, 1869. And, according to recent census and population data, it expected that Seattle will soon be home to over 750,000 residents.

Seattle is located in King County and is the home of the Seattle Mariners, the Seattle Seahawks, and the Seattle Sounders. It is a truly wondrous city with a plethora of activities located both within the city limits, as well as just a short distance away. King County is also home to many large Seattle suburbs and other cities. Our Washington State bankruptcy attorneys serve clients throughout the entire King County region, including the cities of Kent, Renton, Auburn, Federal Way, Shoreline, Burien, and Des Moines, just to name a few.

The Seattle area is also the home of Microsoft. Microsoft’s main campus is located in Redmond, which is on the Eastside of Lake Washington. Over the last twenty years, a number of other high tech companies, including Amazon and Expedia also have established their corporate headquarters here in King County, WA. In recent years, many other high tech companies, such as Google, have also established a major regional presence here in Seattle as well. Costco also has its global headquarters located here in King County too.

To learn more about the City of Seattle, we recommend visiting city’s homepage. This site contains a ton of useful and helpful information about almost every aspect of Seattle, including the inner workings and functions of our local government. If you live in King County, your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case will be filed at the United State District Court for the Western District of Washington , which is located at 700 Stewart in the heart of downtown Seattle. The Seattle U.S District Courthouse is also where your meeting of creditors will be held.

If you are planning a trip to Seattle, there are many resources available to learn about all of the activities, cultural centers, and other things to do while visiting Seattle and Washington State’s most populated county, King County. Many of the best city of Seattle attractions can be found on the “Visit Seattle” website. While many parts of Seattle continue to thrive, many of its residents are still struggling financially. Our Seattle bankruptcy lawyers have the resources and the experience to help you determine if you can qualify for bankruptcy protection in Washington State.

How do I know if can qualify for bankruptcy protection?

Is bankruptcy the best financial solution for you? Until one of our debt relief lawyers in Seattle reviews your financial situation, it's impossible to say for sure. However, countless people every day reap the benefits of bankruptcy and wonder why they didn't pursue filing sooner.

The truth is that many people have either been misled, or have a false impression of bankruptcy. This may cause them to make money blunders that have a far more devastating effect on their finances in the long run. For example, a creditor may convince you that it's in your best interest to make payments on out-of-control credit card bills by cashing out your retirement, when filing for bankruptcy would have entirely discharged the debt and allowed you to retain 100% of your retirement.

Our King County bankruptcy attorneys offer a lot of advice when it comes it to debt relief. And, here’s one of our most practical tips. Please take our advice: Never trust a debt collector to give you honest advice about your finances. Their only priority is getting money from you, and the last thing they want is for you to talk a bankruptcy lawyer about your options.

Other common myths and misconceptions about filing for bankruptcy in Washington State

First and foremost, you need to understand that bankruptcy is a financial tool. While it's true that some people abuse the system, most Seattle residents that file for bankruptcy are hard working consumers who fell behind on bills through no fault of their own. Our Seattle bankruptcy attorneys have compiled a list of some of the more common myths, so that they can be fully debunked...

Myth 1: Bankruptcy is for people who have failed. Not only do many people perceive bankruptcy as financial failure, this myth is often perpetuated by debt collectors when pressuring debtors into making payments they can't afford. The truth is that anyone can have an accident, miss work, watch medical bills pile up, lose their job, or get caught up in a nationwide economic downturn. Some things in life are simply out of one's control, and they can lead to financial difficulties.

Bankruptcy is a powerful tool to regain control over one's finances, and it has nothing to do with failure.

In many cases, falling a little behind on bills can swiftly mean falling even further behind. Then a point is reached where one realizes that they will never be able to get ahead, so they start exploring bankruptcy as an option. Most people in this situation would have been far better off filing for bankruptcy at an earlier date, but this pervasive myth prevented them from taking action.

Myth 2: You will lose all of your belongings and savings if you file for bankruptcy. This is yet another myth perpetuated by devious debt collectors, but it's also often portrayed this way on TV and in the movies. The image of getting wiped out by bankruptcy is pervasive, and entirely false. In fact, in over 90% of bankruptcy cases filed in King County Court, the debtor can keep their house, their car, their belongings, up to $125,000 of home equity, and 100% of their retirement. All while discharging the vast majority of their debt.

Every case is obviously different, and our Seattle bankruptcy lawyers will need to review your situation carefully before offering a recommendation. Still, the myth that bankruptcy will cause you to lose everything is preposterous.

Myth 3: Filing for bankruptcy in Seattle will entirely cure your financial woes. While bankruptcy offers a powerful tool for ending the vicious cycle of trying to catch up with insurmountable debt, it's not a cure-all for every financial problem you may be dealing with. For starters, you will need to make a commitment to maintain a future free from further debt problems. Doing so will allow your credit score to quickly climb once your bankruptcy is finalized in the Western Washington Division of the United States District Court.

Bankruptcy will also not eliminate student loan debt or certain fines, so this must also be considered before deciding which path to take.

Myth 4: Bankruptcy will ruin your credit forever. This is yet another myth that is entirely false. Bankruptcy will likely affect your credit, but only in the short-term. In fact, you are able to start rebuilding your credit immediately after your bankruptcy is approved by the court.

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy will appear on your credit report for 10 years, and a Chapter 13 for 7 years, but this will not keep lenders from offering you lines of credit and loans if you prove you are managing your finances effectively.

Settling debts that have been sold to debt collectors by creditors can have a far more negative impact on your credit score than a bankruptcy. Creditors will tell you that settling a debt is your best choice when, in most situations, the opposite is true. Remember: Never trust a debt collector to give you accurate financial advice.

Myth 5: If you plan on filing for bankruptcy, you may as well max out your credit cards. This is a myth that can lead to catastrophic repercussions, if believed. Not only can this course of action cause your bankruptcy filing to be denied by the US District Court, it could even lead to criminal prosecution for bankruptcy fraud. If you're considering bankruptcy as an option, speak to one of our Washington State lawyers, get the facts, and develop a plan that will give you a new financial beginning without risk of prosecution.

The difference between Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Seattle

There are two varieties of bankruptcy - Chapter 13 and Chapter 7, each with its own advantages based on your current financial situation. While Chapter 7 is cheaper, easier, and faster, Chapter 13 can offer a financial solution when your income is simply too high to file for Chapter 7.

Our Seattle Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers will explain the benefits of this option

When you file for Chapter 7, all debt collection stops. This includes wage garnishments, repossessions, foreclosures, and even puts an end to harassing phone calls from debt collectors.

When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Washington State, a trustee is appointed who is authorized to sell property and use the money to pay creditors on a fair and equal basis. However, it is rare for persons who file Chapter 7 to actually lose any property to the trustee, because most property is exempt.

Remember, bankruptcy laws were written to help people get a fresh, dignified start, which would hardly be possible if they were forced to surrender most of their property. This is why retirement plans, child support, and public benefits like unemployment compensation are 100% exempt from seizure.

Exemptions for home equity, household items, and vehicles often prevent the seizure of these items. There are both federal and state exemptions, so you have a certain amount of flexibility when deciding on your best course of action. Your Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney will help you determine how best to use these exemptions.

All unsecured debt, including medical bills and credit card obligations, are almost always entirely wiped out when you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you earn more than the median household income for a Seattle resident, you must go through a means test to determine if you can pay any of your unsecured debt. This test is complicated, and even if there is a presumption of abuse you still may be able to remain in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This is something our Seattle bankruptcy lawyers can usually ascertain ahead of time.

Your Seattle Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney will explain this option

For those whose earnings are too high to file for Chapter 7, Chapter 13 is yet another bankruptcy option, and may even be the best of the two depending on your situation. With a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your debts are consolidated into one payment plan that lasts from three to five years.

Petitioning the District Court for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy immediately stops all debt collection. It is also referred to as the "home saver plan" because mortgage arrears and penalties are incorporated into the payment plan so that you can catch up, and maintain your status as a homeowner. It can also stop your home foreclosure in the state of Washington.

Often in Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases, most or all of your unsecured debt is forgiven after you're done making payments. However, even in cases where 100% of your debt must be repaid, you still benefit from an orderly plan designed to get you out from underneath crippling debt.

The benefits of the automatic stay

One of the most stressful and embarrassing aspects of dealing with money problems is being constantly harassed by debt collectors. These are the companies that do the dirty work for creditors, who will often sell off debt after only a few months of non-payment.

These people are merciless. They will threaten you, play good cop/bad cop, and even make good on promises to call your place of work unless you tell them otherwise. Since most people are entirely unaware of their legal rights, and sometimes feel like they are deserving of this abuse, harassment can cause people to live in constant fear of their phone ringing.

If this sounds familiar, then you should consider taking advantage of the automatic stay. Simply stated, when you file for bankruptcy, the automatic stay makes it illegal for any creditor to contact you. Period. End of story.

Our Seattle bankruptcy lawyers stand up for your legal rights and will defend you against the unscrupulous procedures of debt collection companies that consider preying on the weak as nothing more than another everyday business practice.

Debt collectors hate us because they are well aware of our reputation.

Contact a Washington State bankruptcy attorney for a free consultation

You don't have to live in fear of the phone ringing. You don't have to look at a hopeless financial future every day for the rest of your life. You don't have to let an illness or getting laid off from work cause you to suffer another sleepless night.

Contact our team of Seattle bankruptcy lawyers today and put an end to the vicious cycle of uncontrollable debt once and for all. We charge flat rate fees, and even offer payment plans designed to help you get back on your feet financially and enjoy the benefits of being a happy consumer.

Your consultation is free.