The Truth About Bankruptcy From An Experienced Attorney
Being responsible does not always mean continuing to pay creditors no matter what. There is strength required to face the fact of being unable to pay all of one’s creditors in full, and responding by filing for bankruptcy protection. There is no honor in continuing to pay creditors in a futile effort at repayment, especially if it means not meeting the basic needs of your children or yourself.
I am like a teacher who teaches the same grade in school for years. I am always at the change point in people’s lives. We only went through each grade in school once. The teacher went through that grade with students many times. My goal is to be like your favorite teacher in one of the hardest grades of your life. Like a teacher who doesn’t want you to flunk, and have to repeat a grade, I want you to never have to do bankruptcy again. I want all of my repeat clients to be estate planning clients.
I recommend freezing your credit reports with all three bureaus if you are contemplating bankruptcy. The reason is that you should not be applying for credit or even using credit in at least the six months immediately preceding filing. This step also makes identity theft less likely after your discharge. You can lift the freeze to get one credit card and then refreeze.
Below are the links:
Doing so will make filing a false tax return on your behalf less likely.
The word bankruptcy comes from translated Italian words meaning broken bench. It referred to a money dealer who ran out of money, and so his bench would be broken and he could no longer deal money.
We have progressed from “debt slavery” and “debtor’s prisons” to the modern approach of a “fresh start.” The term was first used in a 1934 Supreme Court Case – Local Loan v. Hunt. The fresh start has been the subject of scholarly analysis.
One of the most commonly held bankruptcy myths is that you will lose all of your assets if you file for Chapter 7. In reality, there are exemptions under federal law or Washington state law that allow consumers to keep most or all of their property, and still discharge debt.
Bankruptcy discharges personal liability. It is a permanent injunction against collection from an individual. Liens are not affected. A Judgment is valid for 10 years and can be renewed for another 10 years (RCW 4.56.190).
A Judgment become a statutory lien on property. That means property can can be foreclosed upon or repossessed after a bankruptcy Discharge has been entered.
Consumers who pursue bankruptcy should work with a skilled lawyer to ensure they use exemptions as favorably as possible, avoiding pitfalls.
You can get a free credit report after your bankruptcy discharge to see that all discharged balances are reported as zero even if your credit is frozen.
You have options for secured credit cards to rebuild credit after bankruptcy.
If you do choose to file for bankruptcy protection under either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 you are required to do Credit Counseling online for 90 minutes before filing and Financial Management online for 120 minutes after filing.
If you think you may need to file, you can enter information into this website to assist with petition preparation. Start Your Questionnaire
What you will need:
- Recent pay stubs from all jobs
- Credit card statements
- Mortgage documents
- Loan and lease documents
- Any papers relating to prior bankruptcies
- Separation or divorce papers
- Letters from lenders or collections agencies
- Letters from attorneys
- Foreclosure documents
- Repossession notices
- Deeds to real estate
- Inventory of your personal property, including household furnishings
Before you Begin…
These instructions will guide you step-by-step through the questionnaire and will give you tips and helpful hints for completing it successfully.
You can also watch the ‘Getting Started’ video we’ve prepared. It will help you gain a better understanding of how MyCaseInfo works and why it’s an important part of the bankruptcy process.
Legal Services Offered
THIS WEBSITE INCLUDES GENERAL INFORMATION AND
THE OPINIONS OF CHRISTOPHER S. MULVANEY WHICH ARE INTENTED TO STIMULATE A BASIS FOR QUESTIONS RELATED TO YOUR PARTICULAR FACTUAL CIRCUMSTANCES BEFORE YOU ACT.
THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE.
IF YOU WANT LEGAL ADVICE, PLEASE MAKE AN APPOINTMENT TO SPEAK WITH ME.
While my practice is centered on helping consumers get out of debt and protect themselves and their families in the event of death or incapacity, I am happy to offer additional legal services to my existing estate planning and bankruptcy clients.
Are you worried about mounting debt?
Or facing a Judgment, Garnishment or Foreclosure?
Have you been putting off getting an estate plan for too long?
I offer my clients legal counsel regarding foreclosure, buying and selling real estate, Transfer on Death Deeds, and real estate matters generally.
MULVANEY LAW OFFICES, PLLC does not do litigation.
Christopher S. Mulvaney’s Mission:
To Always Be a Human Being First – and My Role Second.
To First, Do No Harm, then to provide the best legal outcome, smoothest process, best value, and to make a positive difference in the life of every client.
Christopher S. Mulvaney’s Mantra:
May I be filled with loving kindness for all life.
May I be safe from dangers within and without.
May I be healthy in body, mind, socially, and spiritually.
May I be at ease and happy doing good in the world.
Every client is an estate planning client.
Additional services related to debt, bankruptcy, and real estate are available to estate planning clients.
I offer initial ZOOM legal consultations to prospective estate planning and bankruptcy clients for two reasons:
(1) determining if the issues are within my practice areas (the “wheelhouse“), and
(2) determining whether a potential client is willing to let me lead them to the best likelihood of achieving a favorable outcome with the smoothest process of getting there.
DISCLAIMER: The use of email or this form for communication with MULVANEY LAW OFFICES, PLLC does not establish an Attorney-Client Relationship. Time-sensitive information should not be sent through this Form or through email. Confidential information can be uploaded into a shared encrypted folder after you have made initial contact with me.
- Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, Bellevue, Redmond, Renton, Issaquah, Sammamish, Maple Valley, Burien, SeaTac, and throughout King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties.
If you have read this far, you may be interested to know what I need to explain to potential clients very quickly which is the intersection in the Venn Diagram above of my practice areas and insurance coverage. As you can see the numbers of case types that are not in my practice areas is large, as is the number of case types that are neither in my practice area nor covered by legal insurance. The intersection is what I call the Wheelhouse. It contains two practice areas – estate planning and bankruptcy that pay all of the bills.
The small miscellaneous bit of my practice which I only do in conjunction with estate planning (bankruptcy is also done in conjunction with estate planning, so every client is an estate planning client. The challenge to me is to quickly explain to prospective clients that the long list of miscellaneous services on the left side of the diagram do not pay the bills – they are simply done to assist my estate planning clients with other matters that are not economical for lawyers to handle in isolation, so they would likely have difficulty finding counsel to assist them.
That is the difference between paying out of pocket by the hour and using flat fee legal insurance. If you are paying by the hour, you have more latitude regarding what the scope of service includes and what it does not. However, if the issue is too small you are not likely to find a lawyer to assist you even if you are willing to pay more than the market hourly rate because many smaller cases interfere with revenue production, increase stress, and increase risk.
That is an important part of why I do what I do the way I do it. There are many lawyers to serve you if you have means, in the manner you wish to be served. However, the majority of middle class and lower middle class people do not have access to legal representation and advice when they need it. In 1979, I heard Jimmy Carter give a speech in which he said that America is over lawyered and under represented. That is more true now than it was then.
I see my niche in the law as representing people in the most economical way possible for the most people, which is through legal insurance. Egalitarian access to legal services affordable by as many people as possible is a value for me. I have the privilege of earning a living in a manner that is consistent with my values. So, if you choose to become a client of MULVANEY LAW OFFICES, PLLC I thank you for allowing me to be who I am in my work, and to serve with my whole self – not divorced from consideration for the good of society in the pursuit of forever more profit.