Debt tends to snowball, and it catches people by surprise. The hole gets deeper faster than you can fill it. If that’s your situation, you aren’t alone. And making the decision to file for bankruptcy may very well be the action that ultimately turns all this around for you.
There is a lot to know about filing for bankruptcy in Washington, however. It’s important that you proceed from a standpoint of informed decision making. The internet is filled with mixed advice, and there are almost always self-interested parties who will give you bad or biased advice (e.g., creditors, debt collectors, debt consolidation companies, etc.).
It is in your best interest to consult with an experienced attorney to help you decide on the right form of bankruptcy, whether to file, which steps to take, and when to take them. This page is designed to give you an overview of that process, though we strongly urge you to talk directly with an attorney before making any decisions, as every situation is unique. The Tri-Cities bankruptcy attorneys at Hames, Anderson, Whitlow & O’Leary, P.S. can help.
What Paperwork Is Needed to File a Bankruptcy?
Generally you will have to fill out a form stating what assets you have, what debts you have incurred, and some other general information about the nature of your financial affairs. Although the form is rather lengthy, most people are able to complete it with paperwork that is readily available such as invoices, statements, and even memory. In the event you need assistance, the trained staff at Hames, Anderson, Whitlow & O’Leary, P.S. can help.
Hames, Anderson, Whitlow & O’Leary, P.S., handles debtor and creditor bankruptcy cases in Richland, Pasco, Kennewick and surrounding areas. We are a debt relief agency that helps people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.
For a no-obligation bankruptcy consultation:
Call Now at 509-586-7797
What Documents Do I Need In Order to File a Bankruptcy?
Situations vary, but in most cases the following documents will provide your attorney with the necessary information:
- Wage stubs
- Last two years tax returns
- Recent account statements
- Copies of relevant legal documents including divorce paperwork.
Please bring as many of these documents as possible to your initial bankruptcy consultation (see below).
Your Initial Bankruptcy Consultation
It’s normal to feel apprehensive about meeting with a lawyer to talk about your personal financial situation. Here’s what you need to know: we deal with these issues all the time. Your financial situation is no surprise to us, and we know very well that it doesn’t reflect personally on you or your family (or your business) in the least.
Having practiced bankruptcy law in the Tri-Cities for many years, we’ve learned one lesson above all else: debt can happen to anyone. Rather, it’s your strategy for getting out of debt that defines your resilience – and often, bankruptcy is the best strategy.
So you can be assured that your initial consultation with our office is a safe space – and a judgment-free zone.
Your first consultation is your chance to meet us, get to know us, get your questions answered, and get a roadmap to freedom from the shackles of debt. We offer a professional, confidential environment. This meeting is for you.
What About the 2005 Changes to the Federal Bankruptcy Laws?
In 2005, the federal government made some changes to the rules for bankruptcy eligibility. The media made a lot of fuss about these changes, and as a result, many people concluded that it would be much harder (or even impossible) for them to qualify now. That’s unfortunate, because it really isn’t true.
The reality is that most people who qualified for bankruptcy prior to 2005 still qualify today.
There are so many myths about bankruptcy. If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy in the Tri-Cities, be sure you’re acting on fact and not assumptions. We handle all kinds of bankruptcy at Hames, Anderson, Whitlow & O’Leary, P.S. We assist both individuals and businesses in the state of Washington, and we can help you easily determine your eligibility and the best plan of attack on your debt.
What is the Process?
Prior to filing:
You and your attorney will complete necessary paperwork or “schedules.”
You will be required to obtain a “pre-bankruptcy counseling certificate.” Your attorney’s staff will assist you with this.
The bankruptcy will then be filed and the automatic stay imposed. After this, you will be required to attend a “meeting of creditors” (see below) several weeks after the initial filing.
In a Chapter 7, you will receive a “discharge” letter approximately 60 days after the meeting of creditors. You’re bankruptcy is finished at that time.
In a Chapter 13, at some point after the meeting of creditors, usually 30 to 60 days, there is a “confirmation hearing” that your lawyer will attend on your behalf. At that time, the bankruptcy judge will typically approve, or “confirm” the reorganization plan. From that point forward, your obligation is to simply make the required payments and keep your attorney apprised of any significant changes in your financial situation. A Chapter 13 debtor will receive a discharge letter when the terms of the plan are complete.
Is an Attorney Necessary for Filing for Bankruptcy in the Tri-Cities?
No, it isn’t, however, an attorney who is familiar with the law and procedures will make the process more efficient and take the burden off of you. More importantly, a debtor who represents himself runs the risk of having the bankruptcy dismissed. Depending on the circumstance, a dismissal could prohibit someone from re-filing another petition at a later date.
Hames, Anderson, Whitlow & O’Leary, P.S. has the knowledge and experience you need to get through this trying time as quickly and efficiently as possible with the best possible outcome for your case. We are Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland bankruptcy attorneys you can count on when filing for bankruptcy in the Tri-Cities area.
Why It’s Important Not to Delay
Filing for bankruptcy isn’t a decision you should rush into. But neither is it a decision you should mull over for too long.
In our experience, very few people make the first mistake. Way too many people make the latter error — and it costs them.
It’s only human nature to try solving things entirely on your own first. And that’s fine. But there comes a point where the wise will read the writing on the wall and cut their losses. Every day you fight to keep your head above water is a day your debt grows greater.
If you are dipping into savings, opening up new credit cards, selling off your real or personal property, cashing in your benefits and retirement accounts, etc. – you are making your situation worse. Please stop. At the very least, make an appointment with our office to talk about what bankruptcy would mean for you.
Filing for bankruptcy is the thing that finally makes a difference in so many of our Tri-Cities clients’ lives. Many of them tell us they regret purging their hard-earned savings and liquidating so many of their assets before they finally took meaningful, pivotal action. Don’t delay. Contact our bankruptcy attorneys today.
Don’t lose any more money. Now is the time to act.
Even if you haven’t yet decided that filing for bankruptcy is the right path for you with 100% certainty – if it’s even on the table, now is the time for you to schedule a consultation.
Call us at 509-586-7797
Hames, Anderson, Whitlow & O’Leary, P.S., serves creditor and debtor bankruptcy needs for the Tri-Cities (Richland, Pasco, Kennewick, West Richland) and surrounding areas including Hermiston, Benton City, Prosser, Grandview, Sunnyside, Finley, Burbank, Desert Aire, Mattawa, and Othello.
For more information regarding bankruptcy please visit our Bankruptcy FAQ’s.