Understanding The Basic Steps in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Knowing the Chapter 7 bankruptcy basic steps is the first step to eliminating your debts. Chapter 7 bankruptcy enables you to discharge all or most of your debts and obtain a fresh start. While it is true that Chapter 7 is the most common type of bankruptcy that most people file, no one can deny that its process is tedious. Thus, contacting an experienced bankruptcy attorney is a must.
At McBurney Law, we help you decide on tough and complex legal matters. We understand the importance of regaining control of your financial situation, which is why our legal team will do everything in our power to assist you. We plan and strategize things according to your specific needs. Don’t hesitate to get help now!
What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most common chapter of bankruptcy in Washington. It is designed to assist individuals and businesses that are financially distressed due to debts. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a federal court proceeding.
Most people will opt for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Filing Chapter 7 is estimated to be completed within 90 days, from commencement to the end, and it allows for the elimination or discharge of most unsecured debts, such as credit card debt. To be eligible, you must prove that you lack the capability to repay your debts and that your regular income is below the median income for the area where you reside.
What does Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Eliminate?
Chapter 7 bankruptcy eliminates or discharges most unsecured debts, including:
- Credit card debt: This includes balances owed on credit cards or store credit cards.
- Medical bills: Debts incurred from medical treatments, procedures, or hospital stays.
- Personal loans: Unsecured loans obtained for various purposes.
- Utility bills: Outstanding balances for electricity, water, gas, or other utility services.
- Past-due rent: Unpaid rent owed to landlords or property management companies.
- Collection agency accounts: Debts that have been turned over to collection agencies.
- Overdue balances on repossessed items: Remaining debt after repossession of a vehicle, for example.
- Certain civil judgments: Some civil judgments can be discharged, depending on the circumstances.
What Does Chapter 7 Bankruptcy NOT Eliminate?
Chapter 7 bankruptcy does not eliminate certain types of debts, including:
- Secured debts: Debts that are tied to collateral, such as mortgages and car loans. While Chapter 7 bankruptcy can discharge your personal liability for these debts, the creditor may still have the right to repossess the collateral if you don’t make the payments.
- Student loans: Generally, student loan debt cannot be easily discharged through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. It requires demonstrating “undue hardship” through a separate legal process.
- Child support and alimony: Chapter 7 bankruptcy does not discharge any obligations for child support or alimony. These debts remain fully enforceable even after the bankruptcy process.
- Certain tax debts: Some tax debts, such as recent income tax liabilities or tax debts resulting from fraud or evasion, are typically not dischargeable in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, certain older tax debts or those meeting specific criteria might be eligible for discharge.
- Debts from certain legal judgments: Certain types of legal judgments, such as those related to fraud, willful injury, or drunk driving, may not be dischargeable under Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
- Debts incurred through fraudulent means: If the debtor obtained certain debts through fraudulent activities, such as obtaining credit through false information or incurring debts without the intention to repay, those debts might not be dischargeable.
What are the Chapter 7 Basic Steps in Adams County, Washington?
The basic steps for filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Adams County, Washington, typically include the following:
- Gather Financial Information: Collect all relevant financial documents, including income records, tax returns, bank statements, debts, and assets.
- Credit Counseling: Complete a credit counseling course from an approved agency within 180 days before filing for bankruptcy. Upon completion, you will receive a certificate that must be included in your bankruptcy filing.
- File Bankruptcy Petition: Prepare and file the necessary bankruptcy forms, including the voluntary petition, schedules of assets and liabilities, statement of financial affairs, and other required documents. File these forms with the bankruptcy court serving Adams County.
- Automatic Stay: Once your bankruptcy petition is filed, an automatic stay goes into effect, which halts most collection actions by creditors. This includes foreclosure proceedings, wage garnishments, lawsuits, and creditor harassment.
- Appointment of Bankruptcy Trustee: A bankruptcy trustee will be assigned to your case. The trustee’s role is to review your bankruptcy documents, oversee the liquidation of non-exempt assets (if any), and distribute the proceeds to creditors.
- Meeting of Creditors (341 Meeting): Attend the meeting of creditors, also known as the 341 Meeting. This is a mandatory meeting where the trustee, creditors, and the debtor discuss the bankruptcy case. You will be required to answer questions about your financial affairs under oath.
- Asset Liquidation (if applicable): In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, non-exempt assets may be sold by the trustee to repay your creditors. However, Washington has its own set of exemptions that may allow you to protect certain assets.
- Debt Discharge: If there are no objections from creditors or the trustee, and you have completed all necessary requirements, you will receive a discharge order from the court. The discharge releases you from personal liability for most qualifying debts, providing you with a fresh financial start.
Why Do I Need a Bankruptcy Attorney in Washington?
Needless to say, the entire bankruptcy process is inherently complicated. Even though Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most common type of bankruptcy, the majority of debtors file for bankruptcy successfully with the help of a bankruptcy attorney. To effectively resolve your financial difficulties, consider hiring a bankruptcy attorney who possesses the following characteristics:
- Personalized Legal Services – You have to keep in mind that your financial situation is different from the rest; that’s why it requires a unique approach. Choose a bankruptcy lawyer who will tailor their legal advice depending on your specific needs.
- Assist You With Everything – Filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves applying for property valuation, taking the means test, considering bankruptcy exemptions, and completing other complex paperwork. When choosing the right bankruptcy attorney, select someone who can assist you with all the necessary processes.
- Rebuilds Your Credit – After filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it is worth noting that rebuilding your credit is important. Overcoming your financial difficulties should not create additional problems but rather lead to success. Choose the best bankruptcy attorney who will assist you in rebuilding your credit after winning bankruptcy.
At McBurney Law, we provide assistance specifically tailored to your needs. Utilizing our competence, knowledge, and extensive 25 years of experience, we can guarantee you excellent legal representation. We will assist you with everything, including rebuilding your credit after successfully navigating bankruptcy. If you require assistance, get effective assistance today!
Call our Adams County Bankruptcy Attorney Now!
Understanding Chapter 7 basic steps is already complicated, so much more is the actual process. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will work with your attorney for three to six months. Therefore, you should seek a seasoned bankruptcy attorney whom you will not regret choosing.
Other than helping you with Chapter 7 bankruptcy, we can also assist you with your concerns in criminal defense, estate planning, and family law. We provide personalized legal assistance using our broad knowledge and extensive experience. Seek prudent help today!