Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy

We can help you decide if bankruptcy is the best option for you. After completing the free information packet available, call to schedule a free appointment with an attorney to go over your options and decide what is the next step for you. We can help you decide if bankruptcy is the best option for you. After completing the free information packet, contact us to schedule a free appointment with an attorney to go over your options and decide what is the next step for you. The questionnaire can be time-consuming, so we ask that you fill it out before calling for your appointment. The initial consultation is free as long as you have completed the questionnaire. The free initial consultations take place at Wallace Law Office in Spokane. A face-to-face meeting is always preferable but not always possible. If you are unable to meet with the attorney in Spokane, consultations by telephone are offered, for a charge of $75.00. The creditor sheet will also help you make sure that you’ve included all of your bills in the bankruptcy.

Documents For Your Initial Consultation

Your initial consultation will be free as long as you have completed these forms. To schedule your consultation, Bankruptcy Questionnaire      Creditor Sheet
Income    Expenses

What Information You Need

The information you gather will assist the attorney in protecting your property and stopping lawsuits and garnishments. Without the correct information, the attorney cannot answer your questions or protect you and your property. You must include income information as well as information about your property and debts and about your financial affairs during the past year.Property. In order to preserve your property, you must disclose its existence and claim it as exempt. Whatever you do not claim as exempt will be taken by the bankruptcy trustee, liquidated, and distributed to the creditors in partial payment of their claims. If you leave out an IRA, real estate, vehicle, bank account, or some other property, you may get a real shock later when the trustee seizes it for the creditors! You must correctly describe all your property in order to claim it as exempt. The attorneys will advise you about how to protect your property based upon the information you provide at your free initial consultation.Debts. When your papers are filed with the court, the court will send a letter to all the creditors you have listed at the addresses you have provided. That letter will put the creditor on notice that you have filed bankruptcy and that the creditor will have to cease trying to collect from you. Only the creditors who get the notice will have to leave you alone, however, so it is very important to list all creditors with correct addresses. If you do not list a creditor with a correct address, that creditor will be able to sue you even though you have filed bankruptcy.

Mandatory Forms

The bankruptcy court has mandatory forms which must be filled out in order to get you the protection of the Bankruptcy Act. If you want to protect your property and get protection from your creditors, your case must be filed using these mandatory forms.The mandatory forms are meant to be uniform throughout the United States, but each court may require specific forms which are not required in other courts. For example, the forms required in Eastern Washington, Western Washington, and Idaho are all slightly different. Using the wrong forms is cause for dismissal. We will prepare your forms for the appropriate jurisdiction.

Stopping Creditor Calls

When your attorney files your properly prepared bankruptcy petition at the bankruptcy court, a federal court order automatically comes into effect which stops (stays) most types of collection actions against your property. This court order is called the “automatic stay.”The automatic stay is a very powerful order which is designed to stop creditors from seizing your property while the bankruptcy case is going on. It affects credit card companies, medical bill collectors, landlords, mortgage companies, and even the IRS. Creditors who are affected by the automatic stay must immediately stop harassment, lawsuits, garnishments, and all other attempts to make you pay them money. If they fail to cease collection efforts, they can be held in contempt of court and fined. Certain special types of debt collection are not stopped by the automatic stay, such as child support or alimony garnishments. At your free initial consultation, you will be advised regarding which of your creditors will be stopped by filing a bankruptcy.The time at which the creditors must cease collection is when they receive notice of the filing of the bankruptcy. The bankruptcy court normally sends out the notice about a week after the filing, but sometimes the notices go out late. There are ways you can stop garnishments and lawsuits faster than waiting for the court notice to come out.The automatic stay also applies to home foreclosures. In a Chapter 7 case the automatic stay only lasts for about three months, however, and the foreclosure can resume after the automatic stay is lifted. In a Chapter 13 case the automatic stay can stay in place long enough for you to make up the past due payments.