We practice law in the state of Washington with offices in Vancouver and Kennewick. Bankruptcy proceedings are typically covered by federal laws, but there are certain state-by-state peculiarities. Let’s take a look at some of the steps that you would take if you are going to be filing for bankruptcy in Washington state.
Credit and Debtor Education Counseling
The government wants to make sure that you have a firm grasp on exactly what you are getting into when you file for bankruptcy. To this end, you are required to complete a pre-bankruptcy credit counseling course. These courses are offered by a number of different sources that are approved to provide courses for Washington residents. Plus, you can complete the course online, so they try to make it as convenient as possible. You can see a list of the approved credit counseling agencies on the United States Department of Justice website. To adhere to the guidelines, you have to complete this course within 180 days of your bankruptcy filing.
There is another form of testing required when you file for bankruptcy in Washington. The ultimate objective is to have certain debts discharged, which means they are essentially wiped away. After the bankruptcy has been filed, you have to complete a debtor education course, and if you fail to do so, your debts will not be discharged. You can access the list of approved course providers here.
Document Completion and Filing
As you might imagine, you have to complete and submit bankruptcy forms that are specific to the state of Washington. Your assets, your debts, and your income will be recorded on the forms, but you have to be aware of the fact that some of your property is exempt for bankruptcy purposes. The exact nature of the exemptions and will vary from state to state, and a Washington bankruptcy attorney can help you navigate these complicated waters.
There is also a means test applied when you file for bankruptcy in Washington. To qualify for a Chapter 7, you must be able to prove that you can’t afford to keep up with a repayment plan that could be part of a Chapter 13 filing. You automatically pass the test if your income is less than the median income in the state of Washington at the time of the filing. According to the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, as of the end of the 2016 calendar year, the median income for a single individual was $3797 per month, which factors out to $45,564.
Give Us a Call Right Now!
Now that you have a bit of basic information, you may want to take the next step toward debt relief. If you would like to schedule a no-obligation case evaluation with a licensed Vancouver or Kennewick, Washington bankruptcy attorney, give us a call at 1-800-682-9568