Few things are as challenging to a business or a family than overwhelming debt. Whether the source of financial stress is an economic recession, unemployment, credit card bills, or medical debt, it may be possible to get relief through bankruptcy. Many residents incorrectly believe that bankruptcy will result in the loss of all of their assets to cover their debts. This common misconception often prevents people from pursuing bankruptcy until their situations become desperate. Chapter 7 bankruptcy, named for the corresponding section of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, may be an option for businesses or individuals. Ben Cushman is an Olympia attorney who can help clients regain their financial freedom while protecting their valuable assets. Ben has been licensed to practice law since 1996 and he takes pride in the level of service our firm offers. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. We also serve Tacoma as well as other areas in Washington, including Grays Harbor, Mason, Cowlitz, and Pacific Counties.
Attorney assisting Olympia and Tacoma residents through the Chapter 7 process
Chapter 7 bankruptcy, often referred to as liquidation bankruptcy, is a process by which businesses or individuals may discharge their debts through the court system. Some of the applicant’s assets, called non-exempt assets, are liquidated and used to pay creditors for some or all of their financial obligations. Determining which assets are exempt from liquidation and kept by the filer is a matter of federal and state law. In Washington, applicants can avail themselves of either state or federal exemptions. It is also important to understand that only certain types of debts may be discharged through a Chapter 7 process. Credit card or other consumer debt, medical bills, and personal guarantees of certain business debts will often be erased. Obligations related to alimony or child support, student loans, and certain taxes or legal settlement obligations will not typically be forgiven. At the conclusion of the case, therefore, the filer often has a fresh financial start. Once a debt is discharged, a creditor may no longer pursue legal actions to collect the debt. Our attorney can assist you in determining which exemptions apply to your situation and advise you on how best to protect your assets through the process. We will also help you understand which debts may be discharged through Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Individuals seeking protection under Chapter 7 must meet the “bankruptcy means” test. The test will determine if the applicant’s disposable income is low enough to justify being relieved of their debts. The test generally excludes debtors with higher income from the Chapter 7 process. If you are eligible, the Chapter 7 process begins with your attorney filing a Petition with the court. Once filed, your creditors will be notified that you are seeking bankruptcy protection. The filing triggers an “automatic stay,” which prohibits creditors from pursuing debt collection efforts pending the conclusion of the bankruptcy proceeding. Within a relatively short time, typically around 30-40 days after the filing, the court will schedule a bankruptcy trustee meeting. This meeting will include the U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee and your creditors. The trustee will oversee the liquidation of your non-exempt assets and distribute the funds to the creditors in lieu of full payment and in exchange for discharging the debt.
Ben Cushman is an Olympia lawyer who represents businesses and individuals in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Ben has been practicing law since 1996. He will use your initial consultation to gain an understanding of your situation to determine which type of bankruptcy is right for you. He will ensure that as many of your assets are protected through the process as possible and help maximize your debt relief. We understand that financial hardship can be stressful. We will focus on your legal issues so that you may focus on rebuilding your financial future. Contact us today.
Washington lawyer focused on client service during Chapter 7 bankruptcy
Ben is an attorney who understands how financial burdens can impact businesses and individuals. He believes every client deserves the highest levels of customer service throughout a case. Giving each case the care and attention required helps alleviate our clients’ stress. Ben is responsive to emails and phone calls, which helps ensure our clients know what to expect every step of the way. We take pride in helping Washington residents overcome adversity and work hard to reach the best outcomes possible. This is true whether you are in Olympia or elsewhere.
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.