We assist people with Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 personal bankruptcy filings at Weinberg & Ziegler, PLLC. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 are both personal bankruptcy proceedings. In many cases, a person who owns and operates a business as a corporation or limited liability company can file for protection under a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy proceeding. A complex corporate restructuring bankruptcy is normally filed as a Chapter 11 proceeding and we do not file Chapter 11 bankruptcies. We would like to help you, give us a call. We can help you find financial relief through a bankruptcy filing.
We have helped thousands of clients from Tacoma, Puyallup, Yelm, Olympia and the surrounding communities. We are here to give you sound legal advice so you can protect yourself and get your financial house in order!
Download our questionnaire and start working on it. You can bring it with you to the initial consultation with any questions you have about the questionnaire. Call us if you need help with the questionnaire.
We want to help you get your financial house back in order.
Go the Downloads Page to begin downloading the questionnaire.
BEFORE YOUR CASE IS FILED:
Complete the questionnaire. List everything you own and everybody you owe. List all sources of income. Disclose all assets or transactions through the questionnaire and speak with the attorney about any assets or transactions that you concerned about, so that we can help you avoid problems with your bankruptcy.
We need to have accurate values on large and valuable possessions such as cars, land, homes.
You can get a value on vehicles at Kelley Blue Book.
You can get a value on vehicles from NADA.
Print or copy documents that show property values and turn them in with the questionnaire.
You can often get a value on real estate from Zillow.com. The tax-assessed value is not sufficient, but it is helpful.
If Zillow only provides tax assessed value you may be able to get a free market analysis on your home from a Realtor. We need to have a paper copy of the Market Value statement for the bankruptcy file because it helps us help you protect this important asset during the bankruptcy proceeding.
In some cases you may want to have property appraised. Here are contact names and numbers for several local appraisers. We are not affiliated with any of these appraisers. You can pay for an appraisal if you are unsure of a particularly valuable asset and you want to protect it during the bankruptcy proceeding.
- Seal Appraisal Services 253 565 5635
- Rainier Appraisal Services 253 840 5447
- Sound Appraisal 206 714 2004
- Cary Deaton, CPA 253 573 9500
- Tom Sadler, CPA 253 582 4700
MOTIONS FOR RELIEF FROM AUTOMATIC STAY
When we help you file for bankruptcy, an automatic order of stay goes into effect that is supposed to stop collection activity against you. A creditor may file a motion for relief with the bankruptcy court after the case is filed to resume collection activity. Click HERE to view a handout regarding Motions for Relief from Automatic Stay.
SURRENDERING A CAR, BOAT, OR OTHER TITLED PERSONAL PROPERTY
When you surrender a vehicle you will want to report the transfer to Department of Licensing to reduce the chance that anyone will come back later and attempt to collect towing, storage or other fees and costs from you.
The vehicle transfer can normally be done online with the Department of Licensing at the DOL website. Department of Licensing call this a report of sale, but it can also be used to report that you have surrendered your interest in the vehicle back to the lien-holder. For more information about abandoned vehicles and title issues, take a look at the DOL information at this DOL website.
SHORT SALES ON REAL PROPERTY
Work on a short sale of real property is not part of the normal bankruptcy process. There may be additional legal fees if you want to pursue a short sale and we need to help you obtain orders from the Court to pursue a short sale.
If you believe a short sale can be completed and is to your benefit, we will need to have you or your agent provide a copy of the purchase and sale agreement and written agreements from all secured creditors showing that all of the secured creditors have accepted the terms of the short sale. Once we have the purchase and sale agreement and written verification that all secured creditors have accepted the terms of the agreement, we can begin the process to get the order to allow the short sale from the Bankruptcy Court. Attorney fees for this extra service are negotiated on a case by case basis.
If you are considering a short sale in order to avoid having a foreclosure sale in your credit history, you may be able to arrange a voluntary surrender and a deed in lieu of foreclosure that will allow the mortgage holder to work with the Trustee and other interested parties to complete the sale without running up unnecessary legal expense for you.
There are individuals and companies who specialize in buying or listing properties for short sales. We are not associated with any of the individuals or companies and we make no recommendations regarding any of the individuals or companies. Here is contact information if you are interested in exploring short sales:
- Stop Foreclosure – WA– a local company who purchases and/or lists properties for short sales
FORECLOSURE AND SURRENDERED PROPERTY
If you decide to surrender property, a house, a car or other significant titled property in the bankruptcy the property will continue to show up in your name until the creditor takes steps to transfer the title. The title transfer can be done through foreclosure sale, deed in lieu of foreclosure or re-titling of personal property such as cars, boats and trailers through State license and title procedures. As long as your name remains on the title, you may receive notices of unpaid taxes and other billings.
Certain kinds of debts including homeowner association dues continue to be owed by the person on the title and are generally treated as post-petition debt that is not discharged by the bankruptcy. The surrender of property in a bankruptcy is complicated. You should call and speak with your attorney about your specific questions. It often makes sense to send the creditor a letter through your attorney or with copy to your attorney indicating that you have surrendered interest in property and indicating your interest in releasing title to the creditor and preventing new fees or issues from arising from surrendered property.
You can also contact a mortgage creditor to see if they have a “cash for keys” program in place.
Here is a link to an informative article about homeowner association issues from the Bankruptcy Law Network.
STATE MEDIAN INCOME AND THE MEANS TEST
The bankruptcy process includes a complex means test that compares a Debtor’s income with State median income. A person whose income is over the State median income level is presumed to be ineligible for Chapter 7 Fresh Start bankruptcy protection and would be expected to file Chapter 13 Wage Earner bankruptcy protection. You can review your income against State median income by going to this website.
If you are over the State median income level, it may still be possible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In this case, your eligibility for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is made through complex financial calculation processes that are incorporated in the means test. You can find out more about the means test at this website. We do not recommend that you attempt to calculate disposable monthly income for yourself. Our lawfirm can provide highly-skilled help with the means test and that can mean a lower payment if you have to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy or possibly, a Chapter 7 filing instead of Chapter 13 filing.
We are located at 324 West Bay Drive NW, Suite 201
Olympia, Washington 98502
You can reach us by telephone at (360) 943-6200
Our fax number is (360) 943-4827
We are a debt relief agency.