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What Is Different About Bankruptcy in Washington State Compared to Other States?

  • By: Christopher Benson
  • Published: July 22, 2014

The bankruptcy code is federal law. So for the most part, it is the same in all states. However, there are some difference when it comes to how Judges in particular Circuits interpret the Bankruptcy Code (thus creating some different views & approaches) and some States have different laws about what types of property can be exempted and retained in a bankruptcy case. Also, the Means Test Income limits vary from State to State depending on the “Median Income” for the citizens on each particular State.

In Washington State, a Debtor can either elect to use the Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions OR the Washington State Exemptions: but, you can’t combine them to pick and choose different applications and categories.

In Washington State, the following Equity in items are protected, or exempt in a Bankruptcy Case. Remember the following amounts are based on the “Equity” in a particular item: not the gross value. Equity is the difference between what a particular item is worth minus the amount that you owe that is secured to that item.

  • Up to $125,000 worth of Equity land and mobile homes.
  • One car with Equity up to $3,250, or two totaling $6,500 for married couples
  • Up to $3,500 worth of clothing and jewelry
  • Up to $3,500 in Private library
  • Up to $6,500 worth of household goods, like furniture, appliances, and yard equipment, or $13,000 per couple with no one item greater in value than $750
  • Up to $3,000 of personal property of any sort, as long as no more than $1,500 is cash, bank accounts, or other securities

The Federal Exemptions have similar categories but different Equity Limits for each category. That is why it is important that you have an experienced bankruptcy attorney prepare your case and discuss which exemptions best fit your particular situation.

You must claim your exemptions to get them. When you fill out your bankruptcy schedules, you need to declare what property you intend to keep and you will be required to support that claim with the law that allows you to keep it.

Over the past 27 years, the Law Offices of Christopher A. Benson has helped over 2,300 of Washington clients take control of their financial situation. We can stop your garnishment and change your monthly payments for all your combined unsecured debt, and if you have had more than $600 garnished within the last 90 days, we can get all of the money back in most cases. But you have to act quickly–call (253) 815-6940 for your free consultation, or email us today. Evening and weekend appointments available.

Christopher Benson

About the Author Chris served on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity
Seattle/S. King County for 10 years and served as Vice President
of the organization during part of that time. Read More