Bankruptcy Lawyers in Tacoma, WA
Struggling With Debts You Can’t Afford?
Get The Relief You Need And The Fresh Start You Deserve
Financial hardship can strike anyone at anytime. Whether due to a mismanagement of funds or an unforeseen circumstance — like a job loss, divorce, or medical crisis — mounting debt can leave you feeling overwhelmed.
No matter how hopeless your situation may seem, the Tacoma bankruptcy attorneys at Beecher & Conniff Law Office can help you find an affordable debt relief solution that puts you on a path toward a more stable financial future.
Seasoned Experience Makes A Difference
The firm’s lead bankruptcy attorneys, William L. Beecher and Desa Gese Conniff, have more than 70 years of combined legal experience in bankruptcy law and are well-equipped to handle any type of case regardless of its complexity.
As a full service bankruptcy firm conveniently located in Tacoma, WA, we represent individual and business debtors as well as creditors throughout Southwest Washington.
Our experience working on behalf of all parties affected by debt provides us with the distinct advantage of understanding the bankruptcy process from multiple perspectives.
Our legal services include a wide range of bankruptcy actions, such as:
- Liquidation under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code
- Reorganization under Chapters 11 and 13 of the Bankruptcy Code
Bankruptcy is not the end, it’s the beginning…
If you’re in debt and can’t pay your bills, don’t let shame or embarrassment prevent you from speaking to a bankruptcy attorney.
The federal bankruptcy code was created to offer legal protection to those who’ve simply had a run of bad luck and need help to reboot and begin again.
Beecher & Conniff treats every client with the utmost dignity and respect and takes the time to listen and learn about your specific situation.
If bankruptcy is the right option for you, we will counsel and guide you every step of the way — from the initial filing to accompanying you to hearings to the eventual discharge of your debts.
How to Declare Bankruptcy in Pierce County:
Call 253-627-0132 today for a Free case evaluation or fill out the form below.
Tacoma Bankruptcy Lawyers –
We will answer your questions and address your concerns with absolutely no obligation. For a comprehensive breakdown of what you can expect in your initial consultation, click here.
Are You A Good Candidate For Bankruptcy?
In order to determine your candidacy for bankruptcy, Beecher & Conniff will meticulously review your finances. In the interim, the following statements are good indicators that bankruptcy is an option worth considering:
- Your income is not enough to cover your everyday expenses and debts
- You’ve experienced a life-changing event that has left you with unmanageable debt such as a medical illness, divorce, loss of spouse
- Creditors are harassing you with phone calls and letters in an attempt to collect a debt
- You lost your job or your hours have been reduced
- You’re facing a lawsuit, wage garnishment or bank levies
- You’re past due on your mortgage payments
- There is a foreclosure action pending against you
- Creditors are threatening to repossess your vehicle
- You own several homes or investment properties that are underwater and you need to strip inferior liens
- You’re past due on your taxes
- You’re a business owner and your personal assets are in jeopardy
Get Instant Protection From Creditors
The moment your bankruptcy petition is filed, an “automatic stay” or injunction goes into effect which instantly halts any efforts by creditors to collect a debt.
The automatic stay is one of the most powerful tools available in bankruptcy because it immediately takes some of the pressure off to give you some much needed breathing room.
Here are some of the immediate benefits of an automatic stay:
- Puts an end to harassing phone calls from creditors
- Stops wage garnishments
- Prevents foreclosure
- Stops repossession of your vehicle
- Restores or prevents termination of your utility service
Wipe Out Your Debt in a Liquidation Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
If you have insurmountable debt and few assets and need fast, immediate relief, Chapter 7 is the most viable option.
This bankruptcy chapter will enable you to eliminate or discharge most or all of your unsecured debt (debt that has no collateral against it) including:
- credit card bills
- medical bills
- personal loans
- utility bills
- judgments resulting from auto accidents
- remaining balances on repossessed vehicles
- broken leases
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the court appoints a “trustee” who will sell or “liquidate” your unprotected or non-exempt assets and use the proceeds to pay your creditors. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy process is relatively quick — you’ll emerge debt free within 90-120 days.
Qualifications For A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Before you can file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must pass a Means Test.
The test compares your annual income to the median income of a family the same size as yours in Washington.
This is a very complicated step in the bankruptcy process, but Beecher & Conniff can help you crunch the numbers to determine your eligibility.
If your income falls below the median amount, you can usually file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If it is above, you are generally given the opportunity to file for Chapter 13 instead.
CAUTION! The median incomes listed below are simply threshold amounts that start the analysis. In most cases even if you believe you ” flunk” the median income test we can avail yourselves of the many legally provided deductions from these thresholds that put you under the limits and ” pass”. Don’t be alarmed if your income appears to be over the median at first glance.
Median incomes in Washington:
- single person $52,996 or less (gross income before taxes)
- 2 person $63,409
- 3 person $72,286
- 4 person $84,970
Non-Dischargeable Debts in Chapter 7
There are some debts that Chapter 7 cannot excuse including:
- Student loans, except in extreme hardship cases
- Debts for most taxes (although taxes more than 3 years old might be eliminated)
- Debts for alimony
- Debts for child support
- Debts for certain property settlement agreements
- Debts for fines, penalties or criminal restitution
- Debts for personal injuries caused by driving intoxicated or under the influence of drugs
Repay Your Debt Over A Period of Time With Chapter 13
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy gives you the opportunity to repay most or all of your debt in a repayment plan to creditors over a 3-5 year period. Beecher & Conniff can assist you in the creation of a manageable repayment plan that will satisfy the court.
Reasons to File a Chapter 13
- your income exceeds Chapter 7 median income limits
- stop a foreclosure
- catch up on missed mortgage or car payments
- pay back taxes
- stop interest from accruing on your tax debt (local, Washington state, or federal)
- keep valuable non-exempt property
- reinstate a suspended driver’s license
- discharge marital property settlement debts
Qualifications For A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
You must have a monthly income which is sufficient to pay your monthly living expenses in addition to your monthly payment in the bankruptcy plan.
Will I Lose My Property If I File For Bankruptcy?
One of the biggest fears people have when they consider filing for bankruptcy is that they’ll lose everything they own — their home, car, and all their possessions. In most cases, this doesn’t happen.
Bankruptcy is meant to improve your situation, not leave you destitute.
Fortunately, there are exemptions available which allow you to keep a certain amount of property safe from the reach of creditors. An exemption can apply either to an asset as a whole, or to the value of an asset up to a certain amount of equity.
Beecher & Conniff will help you navigate the exemption process and do everything to ensure you keep the property you want.
Exempting an asset in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy protects it from liquidation by the bankruptcy trustee. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can keep all of your property (including nonexempt assets), but you must pay your creditors an amount equal to the value of your nonexempt assets through your repayment plan.
Washington State vs. Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions
The amount of property you can exempt depends on which exemption laws you use. The state of Washington provides you the flexibility of opting for either the state or federal exemption laws as long as you don’t “mix and match.”
- Homestead exemption
- Washington: up to $125,000 for your primary residence
- Federal: $22,975 [$45,950 for a joint filing couple]
- Washington: up to $3,250; for 2 vehicles up to $6,500
- Federal: up to $3,675 [$7,350 for a joint filing couple]
- Household goods, furniture, appliances, home and yard equipment:
- Washington: up to $6,500 ($13,000 for husband and wife)
- Federal: $575 for any single item or $12,250 in aggregate
- Washington: $3,500
- Federal: $1,550
Assets That Are Fully Exempt
- Alimony, child support payments
- Retirement Funds / 401K / 403(b) etc.
- Lost earnings payments, public assistance, social security, unemployment compensations, veterans’ benefits, wrongful death payments
How Will Bankruptcy Affect My Credit?
While it’s true that bankruptcy will be on your credit report for 10 years, it doesn’t mean you’ll never recover. In fact, within 6 months to a year to two years, your credit or FICO score — which is what creditors use to judge your credit worthiness — will be far better than what it was before.
Beecher & Conniff Law Office are Tacoma based bankruptcy lawyers and are designated as a Debt Relief Agency by Federal Law.
Tacoma Bankruptcy Attorney Near Me:
We represent clients in Pierce, Thurston, Mason, Lewis, Kitsap and surrounding counties in Southwest Washington.
Tacoma | Puyallup | Orting | Sumner Lake Tapps | Graham | Eatonville | Bonney Lake
Federal Way | Fife | Milton | Edgewood | Lakewood | Steilacoom | University Place
Gig Harbor | Bremerton | Port Orchard | Belfair | Olympia | Lacey | Yelm | McKenna
Roy | Chehalis | Centralia | Montesano | Aberdeen