Most consumers want to know how much does it cost to file bankruptcy in order to determine if filing for bankruptcy makes sense for them which is reasonable. Most bankruptcy attorneys charge flat fee’s, which means that you likely won’t have to worry about hourly billing in order to get your bankruptcy case filed or chapter 13 plan approved by the court. With that said, if there are amendments needed or litigation ensues, which is when somebody objects or wants to fight with you over something in your case, then that can make a case more expensive. With that said, most of the time, the flat fee is all you will pay.
How Much Does it Cost to File Bankruptcy in Seattle, Washington?
The bankruptcy fee that you pay will likely be determined by what type of bankruptcy you are filing, chapter 7 bankruptcy, chapter 13 bankruptcy or chapter 11 bankruptcy, whether you are hiring an attorney or a petition preparer, the complexity of your case, when you are filing with a spouse or not and whether you own a business or not. In general however, it is not advisable for you to hire petition preparer to assist you with your case as many bankruptcy petition preparers have been found to be predatory. If you need help and cannot afford an attorney, you may be better off checking out various legal clinics in Washington State that offer free consultations and can help you with your paperwork. If you do hire an attorney, you will need to pay the court filing fee which is $335 in chapter 7 bankruptcy and $310 in chapter 13 bankruptcy.
The initial flat fee in chapter 7 bankruptcy averages about $1,500 in legal fees in Washington state with some law firms charging more and other charging less, but as I mentioned the fees can fluctuate depending on your situation as not all bankruptcy cases are the same. For example, a debtor who owns a business can expect to pay more due to possible dealings with business creditors, landlords and the bankruptcy trustee who may be looking to take possession of assets for the benefit of your creditors which may involve your bankruptcy attorneys time in dealing with these various parties in a bankruptcy case. If additional services are requested of a bankruptcy attorney after the flat fee is paid, this can be quoted as a flat fee or per hour at a rate averaging $300+ per hour.
In chapter 13 bankruptcy, Washington state has what is called a no look fee of $4,000 per case. This means that an attorney does not have to apply to the bankruptcy court to approve a fee application for anything less than $4,000. As a result this is the average fee for a chapter 13 bankruptcy case as it is more involved, time consuming than a chapter 7 bankruptcy case and lasts for 3-5 years. Often times attorney charge an initial fee, with the balance being paid as part of your bankruptcy plan. For example you may need to pay $1,500 up front and then the balance of $2,500 can be paid as part of your chapter 13 bankruptcy plan.
In addition to the bankruptcy legal fee, you will need to pay the bankruptcy court filing fee discussed previously and most attorneys also require that they pull your credit report for each party that is filing for bankruptcy. This fee is around $37 per party. Finally all debtors who file for bankruptcy will need to complete 1 credit counseling class prior to filing their bankruptcy case and a second financial management course after their case is filed. There are various approved bankruptcy credit counseling agencies, but you can expect to pay around $50 for both classes.
Most bankruptcy attorneys in Seattle, Washington will allow you to make payments on your bankruptcy fees until you are all paid up and ready to file. Other attorneys may offer, what is referred to zero down bankruptcies, but in this situation an attorney may withdraw from your case post filing if the balance of fees are not paid and there are ethical concerns by many bankruptcy attorneys as to whether this model is actually in the best interest of clients.
While bankruptcy attorney fee’s can vary, it is advisable that you work with somebody with whom you are comfortable with and have confidence in, and not just the cheapest attorney you can find. As the old saying goes, sometimes you get what you pay for and bankruptcy can be a complex area of the law, with most attorneys who just dabble in bankruptcy or practice in other areas may not be the best fit for your case. I would recommend checking out various review sites such as Yelp, Avvo and Google as well as talk to other attorney you may know or ask for a referral from friends and family when looking for the best bankruptcy attorney for you.
Call Today For A Free Consultation With A Seattle Bankruptcy Lawyer From Symmes Law Group in order to get a fee quote today!
If you live in Washington State and want to know what more information about what bankruptcy fees are involved in a bankruptcy case in Washington State, give Symmes Law Group a call at 206-682-7975 or contact us to get the counsel you need.