Where do you start if you are considering bankruptcy?
Reality has changed for millions of people over the last few years. Even though the housing market has recovered nicely, for some, this reality is not in their favor. If you feel overwhelmed by a mountain of debt and can’t see your way out of the situation. It might be time to consider filing for bankruptcy.
Filing bankruptcy is a serious matter. You should get financial counseling before you take this step, but if you have no other option, the process can protect you from harassment. It is pretty straight forward. Over time, if you are careful, you will have a chance to rebuild your credit.
Once you have researched your options and concluded that bankruptcy is the best way forward, make sure that you understand the process before you begin filing so that at any point along the way you will know what steps are next.
How Do I Start a Bankruptcy?
The first step in filing bankruptcy is to determine what you owe to each lender. You can do this by obtaining a copy of your free credit report from each of the three major reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. This will provide you with the most recent records of your debts and will play an important part in ensuring that you properly proceed.
Next, visit the U.S. Courts Bankruptcy website. Here you can find information regarding the type of bankruptcy you will need to file. Generally, you will file under chapter 7 or chapter 13. When you understand the differences you are ready for step 3.
You will probably want to obtain an attorney who specializes in bankruptcy in your area. This is always recommended because his/her expertise can help you make your way through the often confusing process of bankruptcy. They can also advise you on how to get creditors off your back while you are moving ahead.
Locate a bankruptcy attorney in your area. Although an attorney is not required to file for bankruptcy, it is highly encouraged that consumers use a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney. The bankruptcy process is not clear-cut and it is important to have an experienced professional on your side. The e-bk website maintains a lawyer directory that will help you in your search for an attorney to help you with filing your bankruptcy.
Once you have your records in place, meet the attorney in person. If you are married or have a partner, bring them along and talk about the right process for your bankruptcy. This will also mean taking a Means Test that will determine whether you file for chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy. Once your path is set, the attorney will file a petition on your behalf. The entire process can be quite lengthy, but once the petition is filed with the court, you are well on your way to a new beginning.
Filing bankruptcy in Western Washington should never be your first step in finding debt relief, but if you have exhausted your other options and still find yourself unable to meet your debt obligations, bankruptcy can help you move forward toward a better future.
Contact Advantage Legal Group for more information on Western Washington bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy is all about helping an individual(s) resolve debt and learn better financial management. Getting a fresh start is not just about leaving the past behind but it also requires someone to protect the assets they still have. You can maximize the benefits of this by NOT borrowing, selling or getting rid of these assets before you file for bankruptcy.
Before I File for Bankruptcy, Can I Sell Some of My Assets?
All too often, bankruptcy attorneys meet clients who have taken desperate measures in order to stay afloat with mountains of debt. They operate under the belief that they will lose their assets after filing bankruptcy. However, the truth is, that it can be harder to recover from bankruptcy if you don’t have the basics, such as a home, car, retirement accounts, unemployment benefits, tools of your trade and so on.
Bankruptcy Protection and Your Assets
A lot of times bankruptcy will provide protection for your assets. Straight bankruptcy (Chapter 7 filing) will protect “exempt” assets which means people filing for this type of bankruptcy will be able to keep much of what they own. Assets that have a higher value than what is exempt by law can be kept by “an adjustment of debts” under Chapter 13 bankruptcy for items that are nonexempt. To develop a plan to protect these assets, obtain an experienced attorney.
Bankruptcy Can’t Bring Back What Has Already Been Lost
Although bankruptcy can provide protection for what you currently own, it cannot bring back what you may have already lost before you filed for bankruptcy. Things that have been spent, sold or borrowed against to avoid financial disaster could have been saved if bankruptcy was filed beforehand.
Most people facing bankruptcy don’t realize the consequences of borrowing, selling and spending or that their assets may be protected under law. An experienced attorney can help place you in the perfect position for filing bankruptcy.
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Bankruptcy or Foreclosure Looming?
Let The Washington Foreclosure Fairness Act Help you!
A little known Mortgage foreclosure program went into effect in Washington State in 2011. It is called the Washington foreclosure fairness act (FFA). This program is for you if you need help paying your mortgage and need to renegotiate with your lender! This program was designed to help homeowners facing foreclosure and lenders to reach a resolution about foreclosures.
The Washington foreclosure fairness act also helps homeowners in that it requires lenders to notify “borrowers” before the foreclosure process of the possibilities of counseling and mediation.
You need a referral by a Housing Counselor or an Attorney to use the Washington foreclosure fairness act program! The reason for this is so that you will have representation when you sit down with the lenders attorneys. When you are referred to the program, you will then be in the Mediation process. This process can be a very timely solution for you and your lender’s problems with the right people to support you. Having a knowledgeable law firm like Advantage Legal Group on your side, can help you find your best option in a timely matter.
Stopping the foreclosure process.
Once you are in the mediation process for the Washington foreclosure fairness act program the foreclosure process halts! You must act in “good faith” to stay in the mediation process. You and your legal representative will go through the mediation with your lender and their legal representative. The mediator will aid both sides to come up with a plan that will benefit both parties.
Remember, that if at any time the mediator believes you are not acting in “good faith,” your mediation can be canceled and your lender can proceed with a foreclosure. Your legal counsel will help you to know what you need to do. Examples of not acting in good faith: not turning in the appropriate paperwork on time, not paying the mediation fee on time, and not responding to e-mails or calls from the mediator.
Other Important Information
Free Seminars, Free Consultations, and Informative Videos!
If you have been thinking about bankruptcy or you are seeing a foreclosure in your future check out Advantage Legal Group to help with your legal options. Advantage Legal Group offers free seminars in the Seattle/ Puget Sound area. These free seminars cover legal options all the way from Foreclosure Defense Strategies, Mortgage Mediation, Deed in lieu of Foreclosure, Mortgage Modification, Short Sales, to the Washington State Foreclosure Fairness Act. Attend these free seminars in Bellevue, Lynnwood, or Tacoma. Attendees also learn about their legal options for their specific financial situation. You are under no obligation to do anything by attending the seminar. After the seminar, if you choose, you can schedule a free consultation with Seattle Bankruptcy Attorney Jonathan Smith to discuss even more specific their financial situations.
Check out our informative videos about the Washington Foreclosure Fairness Act and our law firm Advantage Legal Group. Check out Jonathan Smith on King5 TV show New Day Northwest.