Our lawyers at Ewing Anderson are skilled at representing both creditors and debtors in all types of commercial litigation. The Spokane and Coeur d’Alene attorneys can assist both those clients seeking relief from debt and business distress, and those who need a lawyer when faced with a debtor who is pursuing relief from the creditor. The following sections discuss what Ewing Anderson attorneys can do to represent bankruptcy creditor debtor clients in these areas of law.
Creditors Rights and Remedies in Bankruptcy
As commercial litigators, the lawyers of Ewing Anderson, P.S. have over 25 years of experience in the broad range of creditor and debtor disputes which arise in the bankruptcy courts and state and federal trial and appellate courts n Washington and Idaho. Our Spokane lawyers handle bankruptcy creditor debtor disputes. Our bankruptcy attorneys practicing in Spokane and North Idaho have the legal expertise and depth of experience to respond decisively when clients are faced with complex insolvency proceedings and other creditors’ rights problems. The ever increasing complexity in bankruptcy and related matters makes the creditors’ rights practice particularly invaluable to the firm’s clients.
Ewing Anderson’s clients include secured and unsecured lenders, real estate owners, managers, and developers, investors, trade creditors, official committees, equity participants, business owners and trustees, and other parties in interest. Financial institutions engage the firms Washington and Idaho lawyers to protect their interests as secured creditors in corporate reorganizations under chapters 11 and 13 and liquidations under chapter 7. Plan opponents, lenders, business owners and committees engage Ewing Anderson’s Bankruptcy attorneys to maximize recovery while balancing the constant tension between debt and equity.
The firm’s strength in this practice area enables its attorneys to develop creative plans of reorganization, counsel in the acquisition of assets, leases or claims, litigate contested matters and adversary proceedings and assist creditors with involuntary filings. Ewing Anderson, P.S. represents institutional lenders and leasing companies as well as business owners, organizations and individuals in reorganizations, restructurings and loan workouts. The firm has also enforced, collected or worked out special loan situations, secured and unsecured, and has recast and re-documented asset-based loans. The firm’s clients have come to rely upon Ewing Anderson’s lawyers in Eastern Washington and North Idaho for strategic pre-bankruptcy planning and solid advice in connection with all phases of bankruptcy creditor debtor rights matters. This reliance has been rewarded by Ewing Anderson’s proven track record and steadfast commitment to exceed each client’s expectations. Click here to contact us and make an appointment or call us toll-free at 1-888-909-7746.
Debtors’ Relief Through Bankruptcy
The bankruptcy attorneys of Ewing Anderson, P.S. have over 25 years of experience in assisting individuals and businesses in debt counseling and debt relief. If required, our Spokane Bankruptcy lawyers or our Coeur d’Alene Bankruptcy lawyers help people file for bankruptcy protection. Over the years, we have helped thousands of honest, hard-working people in Washington and Idaho obtain bankruptcy relief and provide an opportunity for that “fresh start.” Click here to contact us and make an appointment or call us toll-free at 1-888-909-7746.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bankruptcy For Debtors
- What is bankruptcy?
- Do I really need to hire an attorney to file for bankruptcy?
- How long does it take to complete the bankruptcy process?
- What types of bankruptcy are available to me?
- What are the advantages of filing bankruptcy?
- What are some disadvantages of filing bankruptcy?
- How do I reestablish my credit rating if I choose to file bankruptcy?
- What are my next steps?
- What will my bankruptcy attorney do for me?
- What is the “automatic stay?”
- What property can I keep if I decide to file bankruptcy?
- What debts may not be discharged in bankruptcy?
- How much will it cost to file bankruptcy?
What is bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is a legal procedure for dealing with debt problems of individuals and businesses; specifically, a case filed under one of the chapters of Title 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code (11 U.S.C. §§ 101-1330), which is federal bankruptcy law.
Do I really need to hire an attorney to file for bankruptcy?
While it is possible to file a bankruptcy case without an attorney, a “pro se” filing (without an attorney) may be a difficult process, one that requires careful attention to detail. The laws governing the process are complex, especially since the new bankruptcy laws passed by Congress in October of 2005, and subject to change. Each situation is different and it is recommended that anyone considering filing a bankruptcy at least consult with an attorney familiar with the bankruptcy laws prior to filing a case.
Our law office provides a free 1/2-hour consultation, with an attorney, for matters pertaining to bankruptcy or debt advice. You can schedule an appointment to come in to and talk to an attorney and ask all the questions you’d like at no obligation. Click here to contact us and make an appointment or call us toll-free at 1-888-909-7746.
How long does it take to complete the bankruptcy process?
The entire process varies in time, depending on how detailed and accurate the initial information is that you provide to your attorney. Once the case is filed with the Court, the bankruptcy is usually discharged (completed) within four to six months of the filing date.
What types of bankruptcy are available to me?
Chapter 7 – sometimes referred to as a “liquidation bankruptcy,” is the type of proceeding that is commonly associated with the term bankruptcy. Most debts, depending upon the type of debt, included in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy are discharged by the Court; however, not all debts can be discharged. The Chapter 7 trustee has access to all of the debtor’s nonexempt property for possible sale and distribution of proceeds to creditors according to priorities established by law. The Chapter 7 trustee may also bring actions against creditors of the debtor to recover property of the bankruptcy estate.
Chapter 11 – sometimes referred to as a “reorganization bankruptcy,” is the type of proceeding which usually involves a corporation, business partnership, or individuals with large asset bases. A Chapter 11 debtor usually proposes a Plan of Reorganization to keep its business alive and pay its creditors over time.
Chapter 12 – provides for adjustment of debts of a “family farmer” as defined in the Code.
Chapter 13 – sometimes referred to as a “consumer reorganization” or “wage-earner” bankruptcy, is for individuals or small-business proprietors who find themselves in financial difficulty and are unable to pay their debts. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows a debtor to keep property and to repay debts over time, usually 3 to 5 years. Payments are made by the debtor (sometimes through wage deduction) to the Court-appointed Chapter 13 Trustee, who handles payments to creditors according to the approved Plan. Because bankruptcy liquidation is avoided, creditors are paid without need for constant contact and without collection expense. Court supervision ensures fair treatment of all creditors.
Under certain circumstances, mortgage delinquencies or certain delinquencies on secured loans can be brought current. Once a Plan has been filed, interest usually stops accruing on unsecured debts. Although its scope is broader than a Chapter 7, a Chapter 13 Plan may be used only by individuals with regular income from employment or their business and with limited debts.
What are the advantages of filing bankruptcy?
- Creditors may not commence most legal proceedings against a debtor who has filed for relief under bankruptcy, nor may they continue most legal proceedings already in process without first obtaining court approval.
- An individual who finds their job threatened by garnishment and creditor contact may find this relief desirable to prevent discharge from employment.
- An orderly, systematic set of rules determines any property distribution or the amount one must pay to creditors — under Chapters 11, 12 or 13.
- Most pre-bankruptcy debts, depending upon the type of debt, will be discharged by the Court, giving an overextended individual a “fresh start.” Keep in mind, however, that not all debts may be discharged.
- With few exceptions (possibly provided in a Chapter 13 Plan), creditors have no claim on a debtor’s future income or assets. In general, wages, earnings and most property acquired after bankruptcy are not subject to claims of pre-bankruptcy creditors.
- Federal and state laws permit a debtor to exempt some, or all, property from the claims of creditors. In most cases, the debtor is permitted to retain most if not all of their property.
- Certain liens and involuntary transfers, such as garnishments, may be avoided if timely action is taken.
What are some disadvantages of filing bankruptcy?
- Bankruptcy filings are a matter of public record. Filing a Petition may be reported on your credit report, and may remain on an individual’s credit history records for up to 10 years. This may make it difficult to obtain loans or some types of credit.
- Individuals who co-signed or guaranteed debts may ultimately be required to pay those debts (except in certain limited situations in a Chapter 13).
- If married and filing separately from your spouse, the spouse may be held responsible for the debts included in your bankruptcy as per community property or contract law dictates.
- Those filing a Chapter 7 lose the right to receive another Chapter 7 discharge for 8 years.
How do I reestablish my credit rating if I choose to file bankruptcy?
Re-establishing credit after having filed a bankruptcy can be a slow and careful process, usually done one loan at a time. Making prompt payments on any remaining debts, rent, utility bills, car loans or house payments can help you to build up a history of payment. If a debtor chooses to obtain credit cards or other forms of credit after bankruptcy, careful spending and on time payments are essential to reestablishing a strong credit score.
What are my next steps?
- Put together a list of your creditors, complete with addresses and account numbers, and an approximate amount owed.
- Put together a rough monthly budget, jotting down income for the month and normal monthly expenses (i.e., rent/mortgage, utilities, groceries, day care, etc.)
- Click here to contact Ewing Anderson, P.S., and schedule a free 1/2-hour consultation with an attorney. You will be able to talk to the attorney, ask as many questions as you’d like, at no obligation. The attorney will answer your questions, assess your financial situation, and let you know if bankruptcy is something for you to consider or not. If it is not, the attorney will make some recommendations of things you can do. If bankruptcy is an option, they’ll let you know the best type of bankruptcy for you, whether it is something you will be able to handle on your own, and what our fee would be if we were to represent you.
- Contact a credit counseling service, such as Consumer Credit Counseling to schedule an appointment. Debt counseling by an approved agency is required before filing any type of personal bankruptcy.
What will my bankruptcy attorney do for me?
The attorneys at Ewing Anderson, P.S. will complete all of the required forms needed to file your bankruptcy based upon the information you provide to them, ensuring that the extensive paperwork is completed accurately and completely before filing. Your attorney will also appear with you at a mandatory meeting of creditors, usually set by the Court 30-60 days after the filing of your petition, as well as attend any required hearings or examinations as ordered by the Court. Your attorney will also be available to assist you in any dealings with or actions by your creditors that may arise during the pendency of your bankruptcy while the “automatic stay” is in place, such as continued collection actions, etc.
What is the “automatic stay?”
Upon the filing of a bankruptcy, a “stay” goes into effect which prohibits creditors from taking or continuing most actions to collect money or property from a debtor. This includes telephone contact, letters, lawsuits, etc. A creditor wanting to proceed with actions against the debtor or their property must obtain permission from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, or face a potential claim for damages, and other remedies.
What property can I keep if I decide to file bankruptcy?
A debtor may be allowed to retain, free from the claims of creditors who do not have liens, property or value in property. State law allows a debtor to exempt property from the claims of unsecured creditors and creditors with judgment liens. The Federal Bankruptcy Code also lists broad exemptions, which may be selected in lieu of State exemptions. The exemption statutes are very complicated, and a debtor should consult with an attorney to ensure that appropriate exemptions are claimed.
Within certain dollar amounts, a debtor is allowed generally to keep equity in personal effects, household goods, a car, a house, and similar necessities. Decisions may need to be made as to whether to give back or to keep and pay for property secured by a lien, such as a car loan, and the appropriate documents concerning those intentions must be filed with the Court.
What debts may not be discharged in bankruptcy?
Some debts are not affected by an Order of Discharge, and are non-dischargeable. For example: certain taxes, claims of creditors who are not notified, spousal maintenance, child support, fines, most student loans, damages caused by drunken driving, abuses of cash advances, and credit card usage just prior to a bankruptcy filing. Creditors of debts created by fraud or misrepresentation, theft, and intentional and malicious injuries must obtain a court judgment declaring such debts non-dischargeable before the debts will survive bankruptcy. Your attorney can determine what debts may be nondischargable if you decide to file.
How much will it cost to file bankruptcy?
The attorneys at Ewing Anderson, P.S. usually charge a flat fee to represent you in the filing of your bankruptcy petition, which usually includes the filing fee the Court requires for any bankruptcy filing. The amount of this fee depends upon what type of bankruptcy you file and the amount of work required in completing it by your attorney. The amount of fee will be discussed with you after evaluating your case at the initial consultation with the attorney. For a general idea of rates, click here to contact Ewing Anderson, P.S. for information or call us toll-free at 1-888-909-7746.