Washington Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy laws and resources vary from state to state. The following page provides information and resource links for the state of Washington.



If you are not looking for information regarding Washington, please use the links on the right to find information for your state.



Washington Bankruptcy Courts - Location and Contact Information

Washington bankruptcy courts are divided into two districts. Generally, the debtor’s county of residence will determine which division the bankruptcy petition is filed. It may also be determined by the location of the debtor’s principal place of business or principalbassets.



EASTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON

Counties of Jurisdiction: Adams, Asotin, Benton, Chelan, Columbia, Douglas, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, Walla Walla, Whitman and Yakima Counties

OFFICES STREET ADDRESS MAILING ADDRESS TELEPHONE
Spokane
Office
U.S. Bankruptcy Court
904 West Riverside
Suite 304
Spokane, WA 99201
U.S. Bankruptcy Court
PO Box 2164
Spokane, WA 99210-2164
(509) 353-2404
Yakima
Office
U.S. Bankruptcy Court
402 East Yakima Ave
Suite 200
Yakima, WA 98901

Same (509) 454-5660

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WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON

Counties of Jurisdiction: Clallam, Clark, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Island,  Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Pierce, San Juan, Skagit, Skamania, Snohomish, Thurston, Wahkiakum and Whatcom Counties

OFFICES STREET ADDRESS MAILING ADDRESS TELEPHONE
Seattle
Office
U.S. Bankruptcy Court
United States Courthouse
700 Stewart Street
Room 6301
Seattle, WA 98101
Same
(206) 370-5200
Tacoma
Office
U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Union Station
1717 Pacific Avenue
Suite 2100
Tacoma, WA 98402-3233
Same (253) 882-3900

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Washington Bankruptcy Laws and Exemptions

Washington Exemptions

The U.S. Bankruptcy Code allows individual debtors to exempt certain property from creditor claims based on exemptions under either federal law or state law. Exemptions vary from state to state. Some states have adopted their own set of bankruptcy exemptions that are used in place of the federal exemptions. However, other states give debtors an option to choose between either state or federal exemptions.

Washington bankruptcy law allows residents to use either the federal set of exemptions or state exemptions.

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Following are common state exemptions in Washington:

Homestead $125,000 homestead exemption (increase effective 7/22/07)
Automobile $2,500 for one motor vehicle (individual)
$5,000 for two motor vehicles (married)
Household
Goods
Household goods, appliances, furniture, and home and yard equipment up to $2,700 for individual, or $5,400 for married
Books & Art Objects Books up to $1,500
All family pictures and keepsakes
Wearing
Apparel
All wearing apparel of every individual and family, but not to exceed $1,000 in value in furs, jewelry, and personal ornaments for any individual
Furs & Jewelry See "Wearing Apparel"
Other All professionally prescribed health aids
Other personal property to $2,000, of which not more than $200 may consist of cash, and of which not more than $200 may consist of bank accounts, savings and loan accounts, stocks, bonds, or other securities

Click the following links to read the text of common bankruptcy exemptions pursuant to Washington law: homestead exemption, personal property.

Contact a Washington bankruptcy lawyer for more information regarding Washington bankruptcy exemptions.

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Washington Means Test

The new bankruptcy laws enacted in 2005 also require that debtors pass a means test before filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. There are two ways to pass the means test:

1. the debtor's annual income (calculated using the average gross income for the six month period prior to filing) must be below the state median. Census Bureau statistics for state median income by family size can be found here (for cases filed between April 1, 2013 and April 30, 2013).

2. If income exceeds the median income, individuals may still file Chapter 7 bankruptcy based on results of Form 22A: Chapter 7 Statement of Current Monthly Income and Means-Test Calculation.

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Washington Credit Counseling and Debtor Education Agencies

Pursuant to the new bankruptcy laws enacted in 2005, individuals who file personal bankruptcy (with limited exceptions) in Washington must:

1. take a credit counseling course from an approved Washington credit counseling provider within six months before filing bankruptcy; and

2. complete a debtor education course from an approved Washington debtor education agency prior to receiving a bankruptcy discharge.

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Washington Personal Bankruptcy Attorneys

To find Washington bankruptcy lawyers in your area, you may want to contact your local county bar association or the Washington State Bar Association:

Washington State Bar Association
1325 Fourth Ave., Ste. 600
Seattle, WA 98101-2539
Telephone: (206) 443-9722
Toll Free: (800) 945-9722

Based on income, free bankruptcy advice and representation may also be obtained from the following organizations: See the Washington State Bar Association's "How to Find Legal Help" page for a list of organizations that provide legal services to low income clients in Washington.

If you are concerned about the representation provided to you by a Washington bankruptcy attorney, see the Washington State Bar Association's "Ethics Page for the Public" for information regarding how to file a complaint.

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Resources for Washington Bankruptcy Laws

U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Washington - administrative and procedural information for Eastern District of Washington bankruptcy filings

U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Washington - administrative and procedural information for Western District of Washington bankruptcy filings

Office of the U.S. Trustee for Region 18 - oversees the administration of Washington personal bankruptcy cases and case trustees

Washington State Bar Association - information about the Washington bar, membership, ethics, continuing legal education, and resources for the public.

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