It is a common misconception that individuals who seek bankruptcy protection will forfeit all of their assets in the process. The fear of losing one’s home, vehicles, jewelry, or other sentimental property often prevents residents from considering bankruptcy as an option. Under Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 of the bankruptcy code, however, residents may protect certain property from creditors through a series of exemptions. Understanding which assets qualify for an exemption is an important part of every bankruptcy case. An attorney can review your financial information and help maximize your exempt property. Ben Cushman has been licensed to practice law since 1996 and is familiar with the various exemptions. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation with a lawyer. We also serve Tacoma as well as other areas in Washington, including Grays Harbor, Mason, Cowlitz, and Pacific Counties.
Washington attorney helping those in Olympia & Tacoma to maximize their bankruptcy exemptions
In both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies, creditors can access certain types of the debtor’s assets to repay their debts. The U.S. Bankruptcy Code sets forth a list of property that a debtor may exempt from this process. This means the exempted assets are protected from the creditor’s grasp and may be retained by the debtor. The Code also gives each state the option of developing its own list of exemptions. Washington, like many states, has done so. In Washington, residents may choose whether to use the federal or state exemption list. Determining which list may be most beneficial for a debtor will be based on the facts and specific financial information for each individual. Working with counsel familiar with both the state and federal exemptions will help you understand how to prioritize and protect your essential property.
The differences between the federal exemption list and Washington’s exemptions can have a major impact on what assets a debtor may be able to retain. If an individual owns very few assets and does not own a home, they may be able to keep some or all of their property. For those who own homes and other assets with significant equity, the choice may be more difficult. For example, the Washington Homestead Exemption permits an individual to exempt equity of up to $125,000 in one’s real property or motorhome. This is more generous than the federal exemption related to one’s home, however, the federal list permits individuals to protect more personal property than does Washington law. Additional exempted assets include public benefits, retirement accounts, vehicles, and household items, among others. Whether the state or federal list is more beneficial to you will be a determination specific to your situation. You should consult with an attorney well-versed in the bankruptcy exemptions to better understand your options.
Many of the exemption allowances may be doubled if spouses are filing bankruptcy jointly and both have ownership interests in the assets. Some exemption amounts may not protect all of the debtor’s property. It will be important to evaluate whether federal exemptions provide more or less protection than Washington exemptions on a case by case basis. It may also be essential to appropriately categorize and prioritize one’s assets to ensure they qualify for the exemption sought. Ben Cushman is an Olympia attorney who understands the bankruptcy process, including federal and state exemption opportunities. Ben will review your list of assets and explain how they may be protected from creditors. Ben will assist you in maximizing debt relief while protecting the property that is important to you and your family. Contact us today to speak with a lawyer.
Our firm also serves the Thurston County cities of Lacey, Tumwater, and Yelm, the Pierce County cities of Tacoma, Puyallup, and Lakewood, the Lewis County cities of Centralia, Chehalis, the King County cites of Seattle, Auburn, Bellevue, Burien, and Federal Way, as well as other areas in Washington, including Grays Harbor, Mason, Cowlitz, and Pacific Counties.
Olympia attorney assisting Washington residents with understanding bankruptcy exemptions
Ben is a lawyer who understands that every individual’s situation is unique. Whether one is currently unemployed or has significant income, unforeseen or overwhelming debt can impact their situation. Regardless of the events leading to bankruptcy, Ben treats his clients with respect and gives each case the attention it deserves. Ben believes that communication with his clients is a top priority. He promptly responds to emails and phone calls. We believe that everyone is entitled to the highest level of customer service. This is true whether you are in Olympia or elsewhere in the state of Washington.