Bankruptcy in Snohomish County, Washington is a court procedure which allows an individual or business who is drowning in debt to be absolved of their legal obligation to pay off some or all of their debt. Hopefully, this will allow both the debtor and creditors to move on with their lives. However, bankruptcy is not a free ride, allowing someone who simply doesn't feel like paying their debts to get out of that legal obligation. It is designed to prevent debt which has minimal chance of ever being paid back from ruining the life and finances of the debtor. It also carries significant long-term consequences, which must be carefully weighed against the potential benefits. For example, bankruptcy makes it very difficult for the debtor to obtain credit in the near future.
For that reason, it would be prudent to speak with a good Snohomish County, Washington bankruptcy attorney. This attorney will be able to advise you as to whether or not filing for bankruptcy is a good idea, given your individual situation. This determination is highly dependent on the details of each individual case, so a Snohomish County attorney's advice is absolutely indispensable.
Types of Bankruptcy in Snohomish County, Washington
In Snohomish County, Washington, there are three basic bankruptcy schemes that are most often used. They are recognized as Chapter 7, Chapter 13, and Chapter 11. Being a product of federal law, the procedural rules governing bankruptcy in Snohomish County, Washington will be very similar to those in any other part of the United States. Chapter 7 bankruptcy requires the debtor to liquidate some of his or her property, and use the proceeds to pay creditors. While this doesn't sound like much of a relief at first glance, the upshot is that once the qualifying property is sold, and the proceeds given to the creditors, all of the debtor's eligible debts are deemed paid in full, regardless of how much the creditors actually ended up getting. Not all of the debtor's property has to be sold off - the debtor will normally be allowed to keep things like a house, at least one car, some types of personal property, retirement accounts, and insurance policies. It should be noted that some debts are not dischargeable, and will have to be paid in full even if the debtor files for bankruptcy. This includes student loans, taxes, and criminal fines.
The other commonly used bankruptcy system in Snohomish County is Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This allows a debtor to repay most or all of their debts in a structured manner. It reorganizes the debt into lower periodic payments that, with a bit of frugality, the debtor should find manageable. This allows the debtor to continue to earn a living, and allows the creditors to eventually collect what they are owed. Once a repayment plan is approved by the bankruptcy court, creditors are legally barred from seeking repayment under the terms of the contracts that gave rise to the debt in the first place, and will instead have to accept payment under the new plan. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is normally a better option for people who have a steady income. Chapter 11 bankruptcy is usually used by businesses, though it can be used by individuals (which is quite rare). Chapter 11 bankruptcy requires that the debtor come up with a reorganization plan - basically telling the court how they propose to cut costs, streamline their operations, and pay their debts. This plan must be approved by the participating creditors through a simple majority vote.
During the Chapter 11 process, a business can normally continue its operations, and the stock can be traded, even if it is de-listed from a major stock exchange.
How Can a Snohomish County Bankruptcy Lawyer Help?
The need to consider all the options and consider the costs and benefits of filing for bankruptcy in Snohomish County cannot be overstated. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, it would be a good idea to speak with a Snohomish County bankruptcy attorney beforehand.