Washington State Bankruptcy Laws


What Are The Washington Bankruptcy Exemptions?

WashingtonWashington law protects all or a portion of your property from being seized by creditors or the bankruptcy trustee in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you are generally allowed to keep all of your assets and property. Certain exceptions may apply, so it's wise to consult with a Washington bankruptcy attorney to find which of your assets will be protected in a bankruptcy filed in Washington. In general, the major Washington bankruptcy exemptions include:

General Washington Exemptions
Real Estate (the Homestead Exemption)
Up to $40,000 of equity in your land, mobile home, and improvements is protected; Up to $15,000 of equity for other personal property used as homestead is protected.
Automobiles
Up to $2,500 of equity in any one motor vehicle can be protected. ($5,000 for more than one vehicle for a married couple).
Other Property
$1,000 in clothing; $1,500 in books; household goods, appliances, furniture, and home and yard equipment, not to exceed $2,700 for an individual or $5,400 for a couple; other personal property not to exceed $2,000 in value, of which not more than $200 in value may consist of cash, and $200 in bank accounts, savings and loan accounts, stocks, bonds, or other securities.

In Washington, you have the choice of electing the federal exemption statutes rather than the Washington state exemptions. Consult with a Washington bankruptcy attorney for more details.

View the complete list of Washington bankruptcy exemptions

Please remember that this page provides general information only, and is not intended to provide legal advice. The information is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified bankruptcy attorney. If you need legal assistance, consult an attorney.

Which state's exemption laws apply in your bankruptcy?

WashingtonGenerally, the laws of the state in which you lived for the 730 days (2 years) prior to filing a bankruptcy petition will apply in your bankruptcy.

If you have not lived in the same state for the 2 years immediately prior to filing your bankruptcy petition, the laws of the state in which you lived for the majority of the 180-day period preceding the 2-year period will likely apply.

If application of the preceding general rules renders you ineligible for exemptions under any state's laws, you may be allowed to choose the federal exemptions applicable in your bankruptcy.

Is Washington a community property state?

Yes, Washington is a community property state. Because it is a community property state, you are responsible for any debts that your spouse incurred while you were married. You are therefore equally liable for your spouse's debts even if you did not voluntarily assume liability for them by, for example, cosigning for a loan given to your spouse.

How did your senator vote on the new bankruptcy laws?

Following years of intense lobbying by creditors, Congress passed the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA). How did your Senators vote on these largely pro-creditor provisions?

Cantwell (D-WA) — NAY
Murray (D-WA) — NAY

Washington Bankruptcy Court Locations:

904 West Riverside Suite 304
Spokane, WA 99201
(509) 353-2404

402 East Yakima Ave Suite 200
Yakima, WA 98901
(509) 454-5660

700 Stewart St., #6301
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 370-5200

1717 Pacific Ave.
Tacoma, WA 98402
(253) 882-3900

Note: You may not have to actually go to one of the above bankruptcy courts. Trustees often conduct your meeting at a local venue.

Although bankruptcy is federal law, the bankruptcy courts in each jurisdiction have local rules that must be followed. A local bankruptcy attorney will be familiar with the specific rules in your area.

Washington Bankruptcy Attorney Locations:

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Bankruptcy Laws in Your State