If you owe a lot of debt, and you think there’s no way to pay it all off, you may wonder,
Can’t I just declare bankruptcy and be done with it? Filing for bankruptcy can stop most collection actions and discharge some kinds of debts… but for some people, it’s not the best option. Welcome to our video series about the basics of Debt Collection in Washington State Welcome to our video series about the basics of Debt Collection in Washington State produced by the Northwest Justice Project.
These bill collectors keep hounding me! produced by the Northwest Justice Project.
These bill collectors keep hounding me! I’m never going to pay off all this debt! I only get a few hundred dollars a month to live on? I’m never going to pay off all this debt! I only get a few hundred dollars a month to live on? My neighbor told me I could just tell the debt collectors I’m bankrupt and they’ll have to go away!
It’s not quite that simple. Filing for bankruptcy is a serious decision that can take time and money. It’s true that when you file for bankruptcy, debt collectors must stop contacting you. But it doesn’t necessarily mean all your debts will be erased. Not only that, you may have to pay a fee to file for bankruptcy. You’ll probably need to hire a lawyer to help you file for bankruptcy because the forms can be complicated and this adds to the expense of filing. For one thing, there are different kinds of bankruptcies What’s right for your neighbor may not be right for you, depending on whether you earn a paycheck from a job, or if you own a home and how much it’s worth.
Also, for many people who have a very low income and don’t own much property, bankruptcy may not be the best option because all of their property and money is protected from collections anyway! Even if a creditor gets a court judgment against you, Even if a creditor gets a court judgment against you, some kinds of money and property are protected and can’t be taken— that means they are “exempt” from debt collection. You get to keep some money and property to live on, even if you owe a debt. You’ll need to know all the kinds of debts you owe (or might owe in the next few years).
Because there’s a limit on how often you can file for bankruptcy. (or might owe in the next few years).
Because there’s a limit on how often you can file for bankruptcy. For example, for Chapter 7, you can only file once every 8 years. For example, for Chapter 7, you can only file once every 8 years. Also, some kinds of debts do not go away even if you successfully go through the bankruptcy process— Also, some kinds of debts do not go away even if you successfully go through the bankruptcy process— like some federal taxes, some traffic tickets and fines, payments for child support, and student loan debt. like some federal taxes, some traffic tickets and fines, payments for child support, and student loan debt. Okay, where can I find out more about what to do? For more free information on debt collection and other legal issues, including interactive forms and sample letters, visit www.WashingtonLawHelp.com. If you are low-income, you may qualify for legal help from the Northwest Justice Project. Call the CLEAR hotline at 1-888-201-1014. Call the CLEAR hotline at 1-888-201-1014. Click here to watch another video on another topic, or just keep watching to learn more about debt, collections and the law in Washington State! or just keep watching to learn more about debt, collections and the law in Washington State! This video was made in January 2014. The laws may have changed since that time. This video provides general information only. The laws may have changed since that time. This video provides general information only. Your particular situation may be
very different. This video is not a substitute for
talking to an attorney about your unique situation. The video
does not create an attorney-client relationship about your unique situation. The video
does not create an attorney-client relationship and it cannot predict nor guarantee an outcome in any legal proceeding. and it cannot predict nor guarantee an outcome in any legal proceeding.