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If you have found this bankruptcy blog post, then you likely want to know how to file bankruptcy in Seattle, Washington.  Consumers who want to know how to file bankruptcy can speak to an experienced Seattle bankruptcy attorney or it is something, just like any legal matter, in which you may represent yourself.  Bankruptcy attorneys in Seatte have typically worked on cases for years if not decades and know how to get you through the bankruptcy process and what traps to avoid as opposed to you trying to understand and figure things out on your own.  With that said, all of the required bankruptcy forms are available on the US Bankruptcy Courts website, however they are not allowed to give you any legal advise or assistance.  Bankruptcy is an area of the law in which that are traps consumers can fall into which could result in not receiving a discharge. losing assets or having a family member have to repay funds given to them if applicable.  At a minimum, it is advisable that you at least speak to a bankruptcy attorney in your area to learn about your options.

What is the First Step in How to File Bankruptcy in Seattle, Washington?

The first step in how to file bankruptcy is to consult with a local bankruptcy attorney to determine if you qualify to file bankruptcy, whether filing bankruptcy makes sense, whether you need to wait to file for bankruptcy and whether you could protect all of your assets if you decided to file for bankruptcy.  You can also do your research online, however much of the information may be outdated and may not answer your specific question or may apply to another jurisdiction in which you don’t live in.

What is the Second Step in How to File Bankruptcy?

If you have determined that you would like to move forward with the bankruptcy filing process, you will need to provide your attorney (if you have one) with all the required documents including a completed bankruptcy questionnaire, your last 6 months of paystubs or profit and loss, your last 2 years of tax returns and your bank information.  Your attorney may have follow up question for you after your provide your documentation and will begin preparing your bankruptcy petition for filing with the bankruptcy court.  If you don’t have an attorney, you will need to compete the bankruptcy petition and required forms on your own or with somebody’s help.

What is the Third Step in How to File Bankruptcy?

Once your bankruptcy petition is complete, you will need to review and sign your bankruptcy petition prior to filing with the court.  Attorneys file all cases online, while debtors may file their cases in person at the bankruptcy court.  At this time you also will need to file proof that you have completed a credit counseling course and pay the court filing fees.  Failure to file all the required documents or make payments could lead to your bankruptcy case being dismissed.

What is the Fourth Step in How to File Bankruptcy?

After your bankruptcy case is filed, you will be assigned a bankruptcy trustee.  Their job is to review your financial affairs and look for assets to liquidate and sell in chapter 7 or make sure you are paying the required amount in chapter 13 and administer those payments.  Documents such as your last 60 days of pay stubs, last filed tax return, bank information showing your account balances on the date of filing and 30 days prior as well as a declaration stating everything provided is true and correct are required to be provided to your bankruptcy trustee at least 7 days prior to your scheduled court date.  In chapter 13 bankruptcy, a trustee information sheet must also be provided.

What is the Fifth Step in How to File Bankruptcy?

When you file for bankruptcy, a court date called the 341 meeting of creditors will be scheduled.  This meeting occurs in about 30 days after your bankruptcy case is filed in chapter 7, and 45 days after filing in chapter 13 bankruptcy.  Your meeting will be scheduled at the same time as other debtors and each case will be called one at a time.  Creditors may attend the meeting of creditors, but typically they decline to show up and the bankruptcy trustee is the only person asking you questions.  You should plan to be at your meeting of creditors for about an hour, but your case may only take 5 minutes as the trustee will ask you basic questions about your financial affairs, assets and debts.  At the end of the meeting the trustee will ask if there are any creditors present and if there are, they may also ask you questions.  If you have an attorney, they will be present with you, but you will be the one who needs to answer all of the questions.

What is the Fifth Step in How to File Bankruptcy?

After your bankruptcy case is filed, you will be required to take a second credit counseling class, called financial management.  This class must be completed prior to you receiving a discharge in your bankruptcy case. Once the class is completed, you will need to file proof that the course was taken with the court and also make sure your court filing fees are all paid up at this time.

What is the Sixth Step in How to File Bankruptcy?

In a chapter 7 bankruptcy case, your will get your discharge order from a bankruptcy judge after 90 days from when your case was initially filed if you have completed all the required steps and there were no objections.  In chapter13 bankruptcy, your discharge order will come in 3-5 years, after you have completed your chapter 13 bankruptcy plan.  The discharge order is mailed to all of your creditors and notifies them of the discharge and that they cannot collect against you in the future.  The discharge of your debts will not include student loans, child support, recent taxes and restitution among other debts.  Once the discharge order is sent out, your case should close shortly thereafter if there are no assets being administered by a chapter 7 trustee.  If the trustee does have assets that need to be administered and creditors paid, you will still get your discharge, but the paying of your creditors and liquidating assets may take some time and the case can remain open for several months.  Once your case closes you will likely be debt free!

Call Today For A Free Consultation With A Seattle Bankruptcy Lawyer From Symmes Law Group

If you live in Washington State and want to know how to file bankruptcy, give Symmes Law Group a call at 206-682-7975 or contact us to get the counsel you need.

  • Richard Symmes

    Hi, Richard here.

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