How Do I Start a Bankruptcy?

How Do I Start a Bankruptcy?

Where do you start if you are considering bankruptcy?

Reality has changed for millions of people over the last few years. Even though the housing market has recovered nicely, for some, this reality is not in their favor.  If you feel overwhelmed by a mountain of debt and can’t see your way out of the situation. It might be time to consider filing for bankruptcy.

Filing bankruptcy is a serious matter. You should get financial counseling before you take this step, but if you have no other option, the process can protect you from harassment.  It is pretty straight forward.  Over time, if you are careful, you will have a chance to rebuild your credit.

Once you have researched your options and concluded that bankruptcy is the best way forward, make sure that you understand the process before you begin filing so that at any point along the way you will know what steps are next.

How Do I Start a Bankruptcy?

The first step in filing bankruptcy is to determine what you owe to each lender. You can do this by obtaining a copy of your free credit report from each of the three major reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. This will provide you with the most recent records of your debts and will play an important part in ensuring that you properly proceed.

Next, visit the U.S. Courts Bankruptcy website.  Here you can find information regarding the type of bankruptcy you will need to file. Generally, you will file under chapter 7 or chapter 13.  When you understand the differences you are ready for step 3.

You will probably want to obtain an attorney who specializes in bankruptcy in your area.  This is always recommended because his/her expertise can help you make your way through the often confusing process of bankruptcy.  They can also advise you on how to get creditors off your back while you are moving ahead.

Locate a bankruptcy attorney in your area. Although an attorney is not required to file for bankruptcy, it is highly encouraged that consumers use a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney. The bankruptcy process is not clear-cut and it is important to have an experienced professional on your side. The e-bk website maintains a lawyer directory that will help you in your search for an attorney to help you with filing your bankruptcy.

Once you have your records in place, meet the attorney in person. If you are married or have a partner, bring them along and talk about the right process for your bankruptcy. This will also mean taking a Means Test that will determine whether you file for chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy. Once your path is set, the attorney will file a petition on your behalf. The entire process can be quite lengthy, but once the petition is filed with the court, you are well on your way to a new beginning.

Filing bankruptcy in Western Washington should never be your first step in finding debt relief, but if you have exhausted your other options and still find yourself unable to meet your debt obligations, bankruptcy can help you move forward toward a better future.

Contact Advantage Legal Group for more information on Western Washington bankruptcy.

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    Is Bankruptcy Embarrassing?

    Is Bankruptcy Embarrassing?

    Is Bankruptcy Embarrassing?

    Being an adult is rough. As an adolescent we would hesitate to do things, worried about what our peers would think, and often, being an adult is no different. Being an adult doesn’t mean you no longer have emotions or that you don’t worry about others judging you. However, being an adult DOES mean that you need to go ahead and make the hard decisions that DO come with consequences, BUT do turn out better for you in the long run.

    Bankruptcy has a weird stigma and connotation like people think their name will appear on some “website of shame” or something. The truth is, unless you’re a celebrity, you probably won’t hit any tabloids.

    Most of bankruptcy is between you and your lawyer. As with any other attorney/client relationship, the attorney/client privilege of confidentiality applies.

    When your case is filed with the bankruptcy court, your case will be sent to your creditors for obvious reason. Additionally, any family or friends that you owe money to will be notified as well since you are required to list ALL debts. Therefore, now your lawyer knows and the people you owe money. No one else. It is true that your filing of bankruptcy is public record but no one would ever know unless for some reason they purposely sought it out.

    The only time you will be out in public discussing your bankruptcy is at your “Meeting of Creditors”.  This meeting is a short meeting between you and your bankruptcy trustee. Creditors are welcome to attend however, they usually don’t.  These meetings are generally held in a conference room and last about five minutes or so.  So, rest assured that this is a short meeting with STRANGERS that you’ll probably never see again. So, once again unless you’re a celeb and get caught by TMZ, the process is relatively short and painless.

    No one will know you filed for bankruptcy unless you tell them. Besides all this, if you’re facing serious financial problems and TRULY WANT to begin to do what RIGHT with your money, you shouldn’t feel any shame in creating a fresh start with a clean slate for yourself. Hold your chin up and begin on the path of financial responsibility.  You got this.

    See Also:

    Bankruptcy Basics

    Should I File Bankruptcy?

    Bankruptcy Myths

     

    Before I File for Bankruptcy, Can I Sell Some of My Assets?

    Before I File for Bankruptcy, Can I Sell Some of My Assets?

    Bankruptcy is all about helping an individual(s) resolve debt and learn better financial management. Getting a fresh start is not just about leaving the past behind but it also requires someone to protect the assets they still have. You can maximize the benefits of this by NOT borrowing, selling or getting rid of these assets before you file for bankruptcy.

    Before I File for Bankruptcy, Can I Sell Some of My Assets?

    All too often, bankruptcy attorneys meet clients who have taken desperate measures in order to stay afloat with mountains of debt. They operate under the belief that they will lose their assets after filing bankruptcy. However, the truth is, that it can be harder to recover from bankruptcy if you don’t have the basics, such as a home, car, retirement accounts, unemployment benefits, tools of your trade and so on.

    Bankruptcy Protection and Your Assets

    A lot of times bankruptcy will provide protection for your assets. Straight bankruptcy (Chapter 7 filing) will protect “exempt” assets which means people filing for this type of bankruptcy will be able to keep much of what they own. Assets that have a higher value than what is exempt by law can be kept by “an adjustment of debts” under Chapter 13 bankruptcy for items that are nonexempt. To develop a plan to protect these assets, obtain an experienced attorney.

    Bankruptcy Can’t Bring Back What Has Already Been Lost

    Although bankruptcy can provide protection for what you currently own, it cannot bring back what you may have already lost before you filed for bankruptcy. Things that have been spent, sold or borrowed against to avoid financial disaster could have been saved if bankruptcy was filed beforehand.

    Most people facing bankruptcy don’t realize the consequences of borrowing, selling and spending or that their assets may be protected under law. An experienced attorney can help place you in the perfect position for filing bankruptcy.

    SEE ALSO:

    Should I File Bankruptcy?

    What Can I Keep After Bankruptcy?

    Ready to schedule a consultation?  425-452-9797 Or Contact Us Here

     

    Who Says Life’s Not Fair? Two Things to Know About the Fairness Act

    Who Says Life's Not Fair? Two Things to Know About the Fairness Act

    Who Says Life’s Not Fair? Two Things to Know About the Fairness Act

    Okay. Okay. So, life’s not fair. It’s true. However, when things come around like the Washington Foreclosure Fairness Act, life seems to seem a little fairer, a little brighter. This act or law helps bring homeowners back from the brink of foreclosure by forcing lenders to enter into face to face negotiations. There are two things to remember about the Washington Foreclosure Fairness Act:

    1) You MUST have representation to advocate for you. You cannot make use of the Washington Foreclosure Fairness Act without good representation. Why? Because you must have someone ( your attorney/representation) make a referral on your behalf so that Washington State commerce stops the foreclosure long enough for you to enter into negotiations with the bank’s lawyers. The reason you can’t do it yourself without an attorney is because they want you to be prepared. This is an adversarial process. The attorneys on the other side are not there to help you, therefore it’s imperative to have someone there who is.

    2) It often takes more than just one meeting. The Washington Foreclosure Fairness Act actually only provides for one three hour mediation session, but it usually takes two or three of these sessions. In these sessions your attorney presents a package to your bank’s lawyers and lets them know how much you make for a living and what you can afford. They then negotiate back and forth until an agreement is made.

    Get help. Get current. Get a better interest rate. Get a secure future with Advantage Legal Group and the Washington Foreclosure Fairness Act.

    SEE ALSO:

    Washington Fairness Foreclosure Act

    Bankruptcy Myths

    Should I File Bankruptcy?

    Why Should I Use a Bankruptcy Lawyer?

    Bankruptcy and Divorce

     

    Ready to schedule a consultation?  425-452-9797 Or Contact Us Here

    Bankruptcy Requirements

    Bankruptcy RequirementsBankruptcy Requirements

    Some of history’s most successful business owners including a past president have gone through bankruptcy. Henry Ford, Walt Disney, even Abraham Lincoln all went through bankruptcy. Bankruptcy can actually be good for society, allowing people to make mistakes and recover from them and move on. Without bankruptcy, we wouldn’t have the Ford Motor Company (Ford’s second try) or Abraham Lincoln wouldn’t have gone into politics ( he first had a failed general store). Let’s demystify bankruptcy today by laying down the facts:

    In order to qualify for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, there are seven basic requirements:

    • – Client’s annual income must be below the median
    • – $52,384.00 for an individual with no dependents
    • -$65,802.00 for couple with no dependants ( for each dependant add about $9,000 to $10,000)
    • – Filed prior bankruptcy in the last 8 years?
    • -Equity in the home?
    • -Amount of unsecured debt (credit cards, medical bills, auto deficiencies, and mortgage deficiencies)

    Once a client qualifies for bankruptcy they usually ask if they’re going to lose anything/everything and the answer is usually no. Most clients don’t lose anything they own. However, everybody’s situation is different and it depends on your own individual circumstances. Following are a list of exemptions:

    -Homestead   $125,000   (up to) State

    -Federal:

    -Wildcard       $12,725 Ind   $25,450 JT

    -Household   $12,250 Ind   $24,500 JT

    -Jewelry         $1,550   Ind   $31,00   JT

    -Tools Trade   $2,300 Ind   $4,600 JT

    -Auto               $3,675 Ind     $7,350 JT

    at Garage Sale VALUES!

    If you’re being garnished, sued or if you’re just drowning in debt, or maybe you just want a fresh start for the new year or you’re facing retirement….whatever your reason it’s time to start looking out for yourself and clearing out debt so that you can begin saving. Call Advantage Legal today and get your free consultation.

    SEE ALSO:

    Bankruptcy 101

    What is the Difference Between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

     

    Bankruptcy Fees are Increasing

    Bankruptcy Fees are Goin’ UP!

    As of June 1st, 2014 the Bankruptcy Court will be increasing its fees for filing and general services. Periodically the filing fees in the U.S. federal and state courts do increase and that’s why we’re seeing this happen. If you are considering filing bankruptcy, now may be a good time to get going on filing that petition in order to avoid the fee increase. It may not be a huge increase, but it’s still an increase and if you’re at the point of considering bankruptcy you obviously have a desire to start being smart with every penny you’ve got!

    More: –Should I File Bankruptcy?Bankruptcy Fees are Increasing

    There are several bankruptcy fees that will increase on June 1st under amendments to the Bankruptcy Court Miscellaneous Fee Schedule that were approved in March by the Judicial Conference of the United States.

    Changes include:

    – The adversary filing fee in bankruptcy proceedings will increase from $293 to $350, a $57 increase. This new fee is equivalent to civil filing fees in federal district courts.

    -Currently, administrative fees are $46 in all cases. They will now the fee will be $75 for cases filed under Chapters 7, 12, and 13, and $550 for cases filed under Chapters 9, 11, and 15.

    More: –What Can I Keep After Bankruptcy?

    -Separate administrative fees have also been approved for when married couples divide a bankruptcy filing into two cases (see also: Can One Spouse File for Bankruptcy? ) This approval was done by the Judicial Conference due to the fact that divorce or separation often occurs while a case is being adjudicated.

    To learn more about the bankruptcy process or the different types of bankruptcy, or anything bankruptcy related for that matter, check out our blog or these specific articles:

    Bankruptcy Basics

    Bankruptcy Myths

    Bankruptcy Process and What to Expect in Court

     

    Bankruptcy Filings are Dropping Across the Nation

    Bankruptcy Filings are Dropping Across the Nation

    Bankruptcies, both of personal and business nature, continued to steadily drop throughout 2013 across the nation. This is both shocking and interesting as bankruptcies were actually predicted to rise by at least 8% in 2013. Business bankruptcies in particular, actually dropped 24%. This is the lowest they’ve been since 2006 and this trend is expected to continue through this new year of 2014.Bankruptcy Filings are Dropping Across the Nation

    2012 filings showed double digit reductions in many states across the nation. Arizona alone reported a 19% decrease. Hawaii saw an 18% decrease. This trend does seem to be domestic which is pretty interesting. As our state’s bankruptcy filings fall, those of places such as Belgium saw a 9.4% increase and The Republic of Cyprus  almost entirely filed for bankruptcy as a whole in March of 2013 before they asked for help and therefore managed to stay financially afloat.

    Obviously most people try to avoid bankruptcy as it has a negative stigma and can be costly. This fact coupled with the increased availability of consumer credit markets means the option for people to borrow rather than file for bankruptcy becomes more favorable and will consequently continue the downward trend in filing for bankruptcy.

    However, filing for bankruptcy is still the best option for some. It helps discharge debts, whether medical or credit and helps people focus on the unforgivable debts which can include such things as taxes or possibly child support. It’s this aspect of bankruptcy that offers many businesses and individuals peace of mind.

    Should you choose to file for bankruptcy in 2014, Advantage Legal Group is here to help. For more information on bankruptcy, check out these blogs:

    What to Do After Filing For Personal Bankruptcy

    Will Bankruptcy Mean I Have to Give Up My House?

    Preventing Bankruptcies

    Mortgage Modification – Mortgage Mediation

    Hi, my name is Jonathan Smith and I’m an attorney servicing the Western Washington area.  We do bankruptcies, short sales, mortgage mediations and mortgage modifications.

    If you’re trying to do a mortgage modification on a home that is not your primary residence, your best bet is to go through the mortgage modification program, as opposed to the mortgage mediation program.  The mortgage modification program generally aims for payment of about 31% of your gross income and is done usually under the HAMP program.  Although, there are standard modifications available through your lender, which could go up as high as 42% of your gross income.

    For more information on this, go to my website AdvantageLegalGroup.com.  Again, AdvantageLegalGroup.com. And I look forward to meeting you.