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Bankruptcy Archives

What is a reaffirmation agreement?

Most people in Vancouver who decide to file a petition in bankruptcy expect to have their debts eliminated or significantly reduced. Sometimes, however, a debtor may find benefits to agreeing with the creditor to repay the debt in full even though the obligation is eligible to be entirely discharged in the bankruptcy proceeding. When this happens, the debtor may elect to enter into a "reaffirmation agreement" with the creditor.

Can a person file for bankruptcy and keep the family home?

People in Vancouver who are considering filing a bankruptcy petition have many questions, but the most common by far is the future of the family's home. Will the bank take it away, or must it be sold to satisfy the claims of creditors? The answer depends in part on the type of bankruptcy petition that is filed and in part on the value of the homestead.

Will all my debts be discharged in bankruptcy?

One of the common questions asked by Washingtonians considering bankruptcy is whether all of their debts will be wiped off the books, or discharged, to use the technical term. The answer is "probably not." Congress has determined that, for reasons of public policy, certain types of debts cannot be discharged in a bankruptcy proceeding. Those reasons can be quite complex, but an enumeration of debts that cannot be discharged can provide helpful guidance.

When is a lease not a lease?

Many individuals and small businesses in Vancouver use various forms of financing to acquire or rent personal property, such as automobiles, construction equipment, or over-the-road trailers. If the payments are made on time and if other terms of the agreements are satisfied, the characterization of the agreement as a lease or financing agreement usually makes little difference. If, however, the lessee decides to file a bankruptcy petition, the substance of these agreements can become all-important.

What is a voidable preference in bankruptcy?

Most provisions of the United States Bankruptcy Code focus on the financial condition of the debtor, but one provision should give creditors pause before they accept a payment from a person or firm on the verge of bankruptcy. The provision, Section 547, defines the term "voidable preference" and gives the bankruptcy trustee broad powers to recover money from creditors who received a voidable preference.

Understanding the concept of executory contracts

Many Washington state businesses that file bankruptcy petitions have ongoing legal relationships with other parties. Some contracts, such as a real estate lease, may be beneficial to the debtor, while others, such as a contract with a supplier, may be burdensome. The United States Bankruptcy Code refers to such agreements as "executory contracts," and it vests in the trustee important powers with respect to such contracts.

The automatic stay in bankruptcy - how it helps debtors

People in Vancouver who are having financial difficulty often look to the United States Bankruptcy Code for help in getting back on their feet. One of the most powerful remedies provided by the Bankruptcy Code is the "automatic stay," a provision that gives instant - albeit temporary - relief from the pressure of creditors trying to collect on bills.

Choosing between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy

Most residents of Vancouver understand that the United States Bankruptcy Act can be used to keep creditors at bay and prevent loss of assets such as a house or automobile. A critical aspect of the nation's bankruptcy laws is often overlooked when people are considering filing a bankruptcy petition: the difference between a Chapter 7 proceeding and a Chapter 13 proceeding. An exhaustive list of the differences between these two types of proceedings is too long for this blog post, but an overview can guide initial decision-making.

How does Washington's "means test" affect a bankruptcy?

As most residents of Vancouver realize, a person can file two kinds of individual bankruptcy petitions: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding frequently results in all unsecured debts being discharged. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceeding is sharply different on this point: the debtor must present a plan to the court for paying off debts over time. If the choice were free, most, if not all filers, would choose a Chapter 7 petition. However, the federal Bankruptcy Act puts a significant barrier in front of persons seeking a Chapter 7 discharge: the means test.

How are different debts treated under Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

Sometimes when a person in Vancouver falls on hard financial times, they determine that they need to file for bankruptcy. Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be attractive to those who believe that they can repay their debts given more time, as well as to those who want to try to keep certain pieces of property. However, when it comes to repaying debts under a Chapter 13 repayment plan, it is important to understand the difference between priority debts, secured debts and unsecured debts.

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Marsh, Higgins, Beaty & Hatch, P.C.
1112 Daniels Street, Suite 200
Vancouver, WA 98660

Toll Free: 866-678-1372
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