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Thinking about filing Bankruptcy in Washington state when facing overwhelming debt can be a stressful and isolating experience. Considering bankruptcy as a solution often raises many questions and anxieties. Unfortunately, these anxieties are often fueled by misconceptions and myths surrounding the process.

Here, we tackle the 10 biggest myths about filing bankruptcy in Washington State, helping you make informed decisions about your financial future. You might find that the process is more straightforward and easy than you realize depending on your situation.

Myth #1: Filing for Bankruptcy Means Losing Everything You Own.

Reality: Washington State has generous exemption laws that protect most of your essential belongings, including your car, household items, and a significant portion of the equity in your home. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can advise you on the specific exemptions that apply to your situation and help you safeguard your assets.  In Washington State you may be able to choose whether you want to use Federal or State bankruptcy exemptions, but you cannot claim them both.

Myth #2: Bankruptcy is a Sign of Financial Irresponsibility.

Reality: Life throws unexpected curveballs. Medical emergencies, job loss, or unforeseen circumstances can lead to financial hardship, even for responsible individuals. Bankruptcy is a legal tool designed to offer a fresh start, not a punishment for past mistakes.

Myth #3: You will Never Be Able to Get Credit Again After Bankruptcy.

Reality: While bankruptcy does stay on your credit report for 7-10 years, it does not mean you will never qualify for credit again. Responsible financial management practices post-bankruptcy can significantly improve your credit score. Many individuals successfully rebuild their creditworthiness within a few years.

Myth #4: Everyone Will Find Out You Filed for Bankruptcy.

Reality: Bankruptcy filings are a matter of public record, but the information is not readily accessible to most people. Unless you share it openly, there is no reason for most people in your social circle to know about your bankruptcy unless they are a creditor of yours or searching the court records.

Myth #5: Bankruptcy is Immoral or Unethical.

Reality: Bankruptcy is a legal right established to provide relief to individuals facing overwhelming debt. It allows for a fresh start and an opportunity to rebuild your financial future.

Myth #6: Only People with Low Incomes File for Bankruptcy.

Reality: People from all walks of life, including those with seemingly comfortable incomes, can find themselves in situations where bankruptcy becomes the best option. Job loss, medical debt, or unexpected expenses can quickly lead to financial strain, regardless of income level.  In Washington state for example as of 2024 a household of 1 can make over $83,136 per year, while a household of 4 can make close to $134,300 and still qualify for chapter 7 bankruptcy and wipe out debts without a payment plan.

Myth #7: You Can’t File for Bankruptcy if You Have Student Loans.

Reality: While student loans are generally not dischargeable in bankruptcy, there may be options available depending on your specific circumstances. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can advise you on the best course of action regarding student loan debt.

Myth #8: Filing for Bankruptcy is a Long and Complicated Process.

Reality: While there are steps involved, an experienced bankruptcy attorney can guide you through the process efficiently. They can handle the paperwork, ensure all legal requirements are met, and represent you in court if necessary.

Myth #9: You Can File for Bankruptcy on Your Own Without an Attorney.

Reality: Bankruptcy laws are complex, and the process can be overwhelming for someone unfamiliar with the legal system. Consulting with an experienced bankruptcy attorney is crucial to ensure your rights are protected and to navigate the process smoothly.

Myth #10: Bankruptcy is a Last Resort.

Reality: While bankruptcy should not be taken lightly, it is important to seek help before your debt spirals out of control. An earlier intervention can help you explore options to manage your debt and potentially avoid the need for bankruptcy altogether.

Taking the First Step to filing bankruptcy in Washington State:

If you are struggling with debt and considering bankruptcy, it’s important to seek professional guidance. A qualified bankruptcy attorney can assess your situation, explain your options, and help you determine if bankruptcy is the right solution for you. Remember, you are not alone, and there is help available to get you back on track to financial stability.

If you have additional questions regarding filing bankruptcy in Washington State, give Symmes Law Group a call at 206-682-7975 to learn about your options.

  • Richard Symmes

    Hi, Richard here.

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