Written by the Upsolve Team.
Updated October 1, 2020
For many people the term bankruptcy means shame, or failure. It should not be so. All people are subject to misfortune in their lives. Some, because of poor judgment but in reality, most times bankruptcy comes about as an option for relief needed due to unforeseen situations. No one is immune to sudden health issues or loss of income. Often, people can’t plan properly for unexpected expenses. It’s easy to put expenses on a credit card and truly believe it will be timely paid. But, situations come about that makes the plan fall short, and from there, everything snowballs out of control really quickly. Famous attorney F. Lee Bailey filed a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in 2016. The incredible singer Dionne Warwick filed Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in 2013. We are never too wealthy or too well known to avoid financial disaster. Filing bankruptcy in Moses-Lake may be the safest way to put misfortune behind you.
A Moses-Lake Bankruptcy is filed in the Yakima Division of the Eastern District of Washington. If your debts are mainly credit cards and medical bills, Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Moses-Lake is likely to be the best choice for you. Your income must be below the median income for your size family in order to file Chapter 7. If your income is above the median and you have too much disposable income as a result, a Chapter 13 is likely your best alternative. Understanding the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy is important. Chapter 12 is limited to family farmers and commercial fishermen and Chapter 11 is for businesses that need to reorganize their debt or for individuals with very high debt. Assuming that you don’t have recent tax debts, Chapter 7 may well be your best choice. Issues with past due mortgages or delinquent car payments may point you toward Chapter 13, which is often referred to as a wage earner’s plan. It’s a repayment program that can take up to 60 months to complete and get a discharge. The discharge is what you are looking for. That is a Court Order that says your unsecured debts are no longer owed and gives you the fresh start you are seeking. If you want to look at legal aid options you should definitely do so. Our information on filing in Washington is very thorough and user friendly, but everyone can use a helping hand sometimes.
Moses-Lake Bankruptcy Lawyers - Estimated Cost
In doing a review of Moses-Lake bankruptcy lawyer cost you will find a huge range in fees. Some may be as low as $1,200, while others could be as high as $2,500, depending how complex the case is. Several firms offer free consultations and that may well be worth pursuing as you’re only investing your time. We don’t recommend that you commit to a large fee unless and until you feel very comfortable with the lawyer you are considering. The cost of a bankruptcy lawyer may not tell you anything about the ability of the lawyer. Most attorneys are very competent in the field they primarily work in. You’ll want to hire someone who does a lot of bankruptcy work. The cost factor is just one of the considerations in choosing an attorney you are considering. Is the staff courteous? Do you feel confidence in the lawyer? Make sure you fully explain your debt situation and what property you own. The more information the attorney has at the initial consultation, the better able they are to provide the best legal advice and the most accurate quote for how much they would charge for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Moses-Lake.
How to File Bankruptcy in Moses-Lake, Washington for Free
In filing bankruptcy in Moses-Lake, it’s important that you follow the steps listed below in the order in which they are listed. If you do, your Washington bankruptcy will progress in a smooth, understandable, manner. Whatever you do, don’t allow a lot of time to go by while you are following the steps. It is easy to lose track, so stay the course.
Collect Your Moses-Lake Bankruptcy Documents
In moving forward with your Washington bankruptcy, it’s essential to gather the documents you will need to prepare your schedules and statements, and to provide to the Trustee assigned to handle your case. You will need your last 6 months of pay stubs. Most employers will provide those if you don’t have them anymore. You will also need copies of your tax returns for the last 2 years. Hopefully you’ve kept those. If not, go to your tax preparer to obtain copies or contact the IRS and request the transcripts.
When filing a Moses-Lake bankruptcy you will also need the last six months of statements for any bank account that you are a co-signer for. This includes any statements for accounts that you recently closed.
Take Credit Counseling
Filing bankruptcy in Moses-Lake requires that you take the credit counseling course before you are allowed to file your bankruptcy case. The course is helpful and will provide you with an overview of your debt relief options in and out of Bankruptcy Court. It will remind you to use good policies when it comes to handling your money. It should take you an hour to two hours to complete the course online. You will get a certificate showing you completed the course as part of your Washington bankruptcy. That certificate will be filed with the Clerk of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court at the same time that you file all required documents. There is a large number of credit counseling providers approved to offer the course to folks filing bankruptcy in Washington.
Complete the Bankruptcy Forms
The process of learning how to file bankruptcy in Moses-Lake requires planning and organization. Don’t panic. You will be okay if you do things in the right order. The forms you complete will cover a lot of information. It will show your name and address. Schedule A/B will list your real property and your personal property, so, everything you own. You will need to value your property. When valuing your home, the local tax assessor’s office can be helpful. You may also know what homes are selling for in your neighborhood and use that to determine the value for your home. With personal property, value it based on what you believe it would sell for in a garage sale or an auction. Just follow the directions, review the instructions if you have questions, and provide complete information. Schedules I and J deal with income and expenses. The best way to track your expenses is to look at your bank statements and receipts for items you purchase in cash. This will also help you stick to a budget that works for your income in the future after filing bankruptcy in Moses-Lake is but a distant memory.
Get Your Filing Fee
Your filing fee for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Moses-Lake is $338. It does not depend on how many people live in your home. It’s best if you can pay the full amount upon filing. If you can’t save up the full amount before filing your Washington bankruptcy case you can request to pay in installments, or monthly payments. If your income is less than 150% of the federal poverty guidelines you may even get the Court to waive the fee by submitting this application with the rest of your Moses-Lake bankruptcy forms. You should make certain you have at least a $75 of the total filing fee as that will be due the day you file your Washington bankruptcy case. You can ask about the possibility of a waiver before showing the money, but if you don’t need to pay it, remember to make sure to disclose the fact that you have this amount in cash on your Schedules.
Print Your Bankruptcy Forms
When preparing to file your Moses-Lake bankruptcy we recommend printing two sets of forms, one to file and one to keep. The Clerk of Court will keep one, and you can ask to have your copy time-stamped. It may save you some time if you have proof of when you filed your case on hand as soon as it’s done. If you don’t have a printer, and need to make copies, you might try the public library. You can also go to any office supply store. Remember that your Washington bankruptcy must be printed on only one side of the documents that you file with the Court. Do not attempt to save money by printing on both sides of the paper. They will be rejected.
Go to Court to File Your Forms
Because you live in Moses-Lake, and they don’t have a Bankruptcy Clerk’s office, you will need to go to Yakima to file your Washington bankruptcy case. The Court is located at 402 East Yakima Avenue, Suite 200. If you need to phone the Clerk to see about filing through the mail the number is (509) 576-6100. We recommend filing in person if you are able to take a trip to Yakima without too much hardship. Then you will know that your case has been filed right away. There is a sense of peace that tends to come with that knowledge that you won’t have if you’re filing bankruptcy in Moses-Lake by mailing everything to the Court. If you’re filing in person in Yakima, you can visit Shari’s Cafe and Pies at 1401 Lakeside Court; after all, sometimes a slice of pie is needed, and probably never more so than after filing bankruptcy in Moses-Lake.
Mail Documents to Your Trustee
Once you file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Moses-Lake, you will receive a Notice of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case. This document will show your name and address, your case number, and the name of your Trustee. Please remember to always open all mail you receive from the Court or the Trustee. You will receive information from the Trustee as to what documents they want you to send to their office in preparation for your 341 meeting. It will include your last tax return, your sixty days your sixty days of pay stubs and most likely a copy of your bank statement showing how much money you had in the account on the day you filed bankruptcy in Moses-Lake. The Trustee may require other documents as part of your Washington bankruptcy. If so, be sure to cooperate in providing them timely to ensure an uneventful processing of your case by the Trustee.
Take Bankruptcy Course 2
In your Moses-Lake bankruptcy, the second bankruptcy course is called Debtor Education, and is designed to assist you in budgeting and handling money as you move forward. It’s a good idea to take the course before attending your 341 hearing, or creditors’ meeting. By having it out of the way you don’t run the risk of having your case closed without receiving your discharge first. The discharge is what you are looking for in your Washington bankruptcy. If you had a satisfactory experience with the first course you took, you may want to go to the same source for the second one, as long as they are on the list of approved providers for this course as well.
Attend Your 341 Meeting
When you file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Moses-Lake, because you live in Grant County, you will attend your 341 hearing at the Red Lion Hotel in Wenatchee. The actual physical address is 1225 N. Wenatchee Ave., Wenatchee, WA 98801. Be sure to check your Notice of Meeting of Creditors before going as the locations occasionally change. If you’re actually going to be in Wenatchee, you might want to check out Pybus Public Market at 3 N. Worthen Street. They have a laid back atmosphere and excellent food to reward yourself with after a stressful day. The Trustee is the one that will be conducting your 341 meeting. It’s their job to review all documents and find out whether anything further is needed in your case. Creditors can attend, but rarely do in a simple Chapter 7 case. As part of your Washington bankruptcy dress respectfully. No flip flops, or shorts. The hearing usually is very short, lasting somewhere between 5 to 10 minutes. You will be sworn in and must be truthful. It is perjury to not do so while under oath and can jeopardize your ability to obtain a discharge in your Moses-Lake bankruptcy.
Dealing with Your Car
In your Washington bankruptcy, if you have equity in your car, meaning it’s worth more than you owe on it, you may want to reaffirm the debt. Reaffirming simply means you will sign an agreement stating you are going to continue paying for the car under the original terms and that the loan is not discharged. If the car is worth less than you owe on it, you may want to return it to the creditor. If you return - or surrender - it as part of your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Moses-Lake, the bank will not be able to pursue you for more money. That is true even if they auction it off for less than they are owed. If you have a leased vehicle you may decide to assume the lease and keep the car. On the other hand, seriously consider giving it back. Don’t keep a vehicle under a purchase or lease agreement if you can’t afford to make the payments or if you already know that you are facing large penalties at the end of the lease term.
Washington Bankruptcy Means Test, Bankruptcy Forms, and Exemptions for Moses-Lake
Washington Means Test
Theincome limits for the Washington bankruptcy Means Test are determined by the median household income for Washington State. If your household income is more than the median income, you’ll have to complete part two of Washington bankruptcy Means Test to determine whether you qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Moses-Lake.
Median Income Levels for Washington
Washington Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2021
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Poverty Levels for Washington
Washington Fee Waiver Eligibility for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2021
Eligible for fee waiver when under 150% the poverty level.
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Washington Bankruptcy Forms
When you are filing bankruptcy in Moses-Lake, the state of Washington uses the federal bankruptcy forms. Your Washington bankruptcy case requires no forms specific to cases being filed from Grant County.
In a Washington bankruptcy case, you can choose to use the Washington bankruptcy exemptions or the federal bankruptcy exemptionsto protect your property. Not all states allow their residents to choose between the two. Remember, however, that you can’t mix and match, so be sure to pick the exemptions that most align with your property.