Bankruptcy in Washington is a legal procedure through which some of the debts of an individual or a business are discharged (excused). You should not view bankruptcy as an opportunity to eliminate your debts just because you don't feel like paying them - it can be a long and difficult process. Bankruptcy is designed to be a last resort to prevent complete financial ruin, while allowing creditors to collect at least some of their debts in an orderly fashion. Filing for bankruptcy can have major negative effects on one's credit score, which will make it more difficult to get loans in the future.
Accordingly, if you are considering bankruptcy as an option, you need to thoroughly examine the costs and benefits. A good Washington bankruptcy attorney can advise you as to the pros and cons of bankruptcy, and give his or her expert opinion about whether or not bankruptcy is a good option, based on the facts of your distinct case.
Types of Bankruptcy in Washington
Bankruptcy is governed by federal law, so the procedures in filing for bankruptcy in Washington will be the same as anywhere else in the United States. There are 2 basic types of bankruptcy that consumers typically use: Chapter 7, and Chapter 13, owing their names to where they are found in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Additionally, there is a form of bankruptcy normally used by businesses called Chapter 11. Chapter 11 is available to individuals, but it is rarely the best option for them.
In Washington, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is referred to as "liquidation." The court will conduct an accounting of all of the debtor's assets, and determine which ones should be sold to help pay off the debts. Many classes of property, such as homes and cars, are exempt from this requirement, and therefore don't have to be sold. Once all of the eligible property is sold off, and the proceeds given to the creditors, the rest of the debt is discharged. Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves restructuring, rather than discharging, one's debt. Basically, the court structures a debt repayment plan meant to allow the debtor to pay off his or her debt in manageable installments, while allowing the debtors to eventually collect at least some of what is owed to them.
Typically, it is businesses as opposed to individuals that avail themselves of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Similar to Chapter 13, it entails reorganization of debt, rather than discharge. The debtor has to come up with a plan to reorganize its debts, and this plan must then be approved by a vote of the participating creditors. Once the plan is approved, the debtor has to carry it out.
How Can a Washington Bankruptcy Lawyer Help?
Filing for bankruptcy is a very big decision, frought with risks. However, in some cases, the benefits might outweigh the costs. Because of this, it is important to seek the advice of a Washington bankruptcy attorney, who can advise you of the likely consequences of filing, and whether or not doing so is likely to benefit you.
Interesting Facts About Washington
Washington is a state located on the Western Pacific Coast of the mainland U.S. Washington became a state in 1889. Before this, it was part of a region known as the Washington Territory. Washington state was named after President George Washington and is the only state to be named after a U.S. President.
Washington life is supported by an economy of agriculture, shipping, transportation, and heavy industry. Many of Washington's laws regulate these types of activities. Complex legal claims are heard at the Washington Supreme Court, which is the highest court in the state. The Washington Supreme Court produces many decisions that are influential across the country. A 2007 study showed that decisions coming from the Washington Supreme Court are the second most widely followed by all the appellate courts in the U.S.
Other important court bodies in Washington include the Court of Appeals, the Superior Court system, the Municipal Courts, and District Courts. Another interesting fact is that Washington's Supreme Court was the first court in the world to provide complete television coverage of all cases. These are televised year-round through the state's public television network.
Lawyers in Washington provide their clients with the legal services in accordance with state and national standards. Washington lawyers are skilled at interpreting the state's complex body of case laws and statutory codes. Legal questions and inquires can be directed to a local attorney in Washington.