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The Washington State legislature has enacted significant changes to the Washington homestead statute. The legislation amends RCW 6.13.010, 6.13.030, 6.13.060, 6.13.070, 6.13.080, and 61.24.100, effective May 12, 2021.


In general, the law provides for increases in potential homestead exemptions based on “the county median sale price of a single-family home in the preceding year.”


The Washington State homestead amount is applicable in bankruptcy cases when debtors have elected to use it instead of the federal exemption. As of January 13, 2021, the federal homestead exemption amount is $25,150, while the Washington State homestead exemption amount is now “the greater of $125,000 or the county median sale price of a single-family home in the preceding calendar year.” (Please note that 11 U.S.C. § 522(p) may limit the maximum amount of the state homestead when property is acquired by a debtor less than 1,215 days before bankruptcy.)


These amounts will change annually, but for 2021, the county-by-county homestead exemption values for the Eastern District of Washington are as follows:


• Adams: $216,900 • Asotin: $216,900 • Benton: $329,500 • Chelan: $418,600 • Columbia: $214,700 • Douglas: $373,200 • Ferry: $172,900 • Franklin: $329,500 • Garfield: $216,900 • Grant: $258,500 • Kittitas: $411,000 • Klickitat: $370,800 • Lincoln: $202,100 • Okanogan: $254,500 • Pend Oreille: $242,000 • Spokane: $318,200 • Stevens: $242,000 • Walla Walla: $305,500 • Whitman: $291,300 • Yakima: $281,500





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How much income can you earn and still for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy? Read the blog post below to find out.


DO YOU EARN TOO MUCH INCOME TO FILE A CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY?


As of April 1, 2021, the amount of income you can earn on average per year has increased under the bankruptcy "means-test." In order to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your gross income (income earned before taxes and deductions) must be under a certain amount. The bankruptcy court looks at the gross income you have received the 6 months prior to the month you intend to file for bankruptcy to determine whether you qualify to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. For example, if you intend to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in December, the court wants to know how much gross income you received from the month of June through the month of November. Below are the types of income that are included in the means-test and the types of income that are not included in the means-test equation.


Income that is NOT calculated in the means-test:

  • Payments you receive from Social Security (including Social Security Retirement, SSI, SSDI, and TANF)

  • VA Disability Income.

  • Federal Stimulus Payments

Income that is calculated in the means-test:

  • wages, salary, tips, bonuses, overtime, and commissions

  • interest, dividends, and royalties

  • net income from rents and other real property income

  • pension and retirement income

  • regular contributions to the household expenses of the debtor or the debtor’s dependents, including child or spousal support

  • regular contributions by the debtor’s spouse (unless you are legally separated)

  • unemployment compensation

  • workers’ compensation income

  • state disability insurance, and

  • annuity payments.

Below are the amounts of gross income each household size can receive in the State of Washington and still qualify to file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy under the means-test. Each state has a different amount you can receive, so be sure to check what your state's numbers are. The amounts below are for the 6 months X 2 for the average of one year. The amounts are different for each state.


Washington State Gross Income by Household Size as of April 1, 2021


Household Size of One: $71,060.00

Household Size of Two: $86,240.00

Household Size of Three: $99,948.00

Household Size of Four: $113,566.00

Household Size of Five: $122,566.00

* Add $9,000.00 for each individual in excess of 4 people.


If you are currently over the above income levels for your household size, you still have options and may still be able to qualify to file a Chapter 7 Bankrupty. It is important to know where you stand on income before you file for bankruptcy. There are a variety of options. Call our office and find out whether you qualify for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy or make an appointment for a FREE Consultation with Jason Couey.




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