Legislative Changes to the Washington Homestead Statute May Benefit Washington Bankruptcy Filers

Couple concludes bankruptcy and saves their home

By passing “Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5408” during the recent legislative session, the Washington State Legislature significantly changed the Washington homestead statute. The bill is expected to be signed by Governor Inslee on Tuesday, May 18th of this year.

According to a post on the United States Bankruptcy Court website for the Western District of Washington, https://www.wawb.uscourts.gov/news/washington-state-legislature-significantly-amends-homestead-law-effective-may-18-2021, released on April 20th of this year,

In general, homestead law contained in bill Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5408 provides for increases in homestead exemptions based on “the county median sale price of a single-family home in the preceding year.”

“Homestead includes real or personal property a dependent of the owner uses as a residence. A dependent has the same meaning as in [the] federal bankruptcy code. A dependent of a homeowner is not required to sign off on any documents needed to transfer the property.”

A forced sale is defined to include any sale of the homestead property in a bankruptcy proceeding. The reinvestment provisions do not apply to the proceeds. This change to the homestead law adopts the court’s holding in the decision of In re Good [588 B.R. 573 (Bankr. W.D. Wash. 2018)].

The homestead exemption amount is the greater of $125,000 or the county median sale price of a single-family home in the preceding calendar year. A court shall accept data on the county median sale price of a single family home from the Washington Center for Real Estate Research, or if the Washington Center for Real Estate Research no longer provides the data, a successor entity designated by the Office of Financial Management. This data can be found on the Washington Center for Real Estate Research site under the “Annual Median Price” tab here: https://wcrer.be.uw.edu/archived-reports/.]

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Help for a Single Mom with Crippling Debt and Overdue Taxes

Help for a Single Mom with Crippling Debt and Overdue Taxes from the Law Offices of John A. Stewart

At the Law Offices of John A. Sterbick, we occasionally meet clients whose financial circumstances have deteriorated past the point of inability to stay current on their bill payments. Sometimes, clients have assumed long term debt for assets that have depreciated below the remaining balance of the loan that the client owes the lender.

Similarly, clients may incur years of federal tax debt that the IRS will demand to be paid once the IRS becomes aware that that client has delinquent tax debt. The combination of personal and IRS debt owed is often overwhelming.

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Managing Your Credit: Charge Offs and Collections

Couple reviewing their credit report and discussing problems

Many people think that when they see a notation on their credit report that one of their debts is “charged off” that “charged off” means that the debt is forgiven or that for some unknown reason, they no longer have to repay that debt. That is incorrect. Read the article to learn more about charge offs on your credit report, how charge off dates and intermittent payments work, and how not to be fooled by unscrupulous debt collectors.

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A Disabled Veteran Gets a Fresh Start

Man and nephew fishing together

Kevin L. served his country honorably for 22 years in the U.S. Army, including tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. After 22 years, Kevin retired at the rank of technical sergeant, and despite suffering combat-related injuries that left him fully disabled with PTSD, Kevin looked forward to his new life as a civilian.

Unfortunately, fate intervened. Kevin was involved in a significant auto accident after his honorable discharge. Kevin suffered a significant head injury that required brain surgery. Debts quickly piled up afterward. Even worse, Kevin’s partner left him after she added even more debt to his already heavy load.

Fortunately, Kevin came to the Sterbick firm for help this Spring. Kevin’s debts included his home and a truck, among others, and he had fallen behind in his payments.

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Subchapter V Bankruptcy: A “Better Way” for Small Businesses


Filing a Lower Cost “Chapter 5” Bankruptcy Case Could Save Your Business Why did it take so long for Congress to pass a law providing a “better way” to reorganize financially troubled small businesses? The Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 (SBRA) created a new Subchapter V of Chapter 11, which enables small businesses to…

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Man with concerned look

With the exception of a home mortgage, if you cannot pay your debts off completely within the next three years, you may consider filing for bankruptcy in order to protect your income and assets. If you file for bankruptcy, you may free up income so that you can begin to pay off your mortgage, save…

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