law office of Noel Shillito

Moving Beyond Bankruptcy

Detroit Eligible For Chapter 9 Bankruptcy -

Thursday, August 28, 2014

- and Tacoma should care!

According to the Associated Press, “A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Detroit can use bankruptcy to cut employee pensions and relieve itself of other crushing debts, handing a defeat to the city’s unions and retirees and shifting the case into a delicate new phase.”  The ruling means that the city can now take on their $18 billion dollars of debt at a much reduced rate. Before the ruling, nearly half of every dollar the city of Detroit collected was used to pay down debt. Now, only a few pennies will go toward debt, while the rest can hopefully go toward a possible deal, paying back pensions owed to city employees. Obviously, this is a much better option for the once strong city, but few in Pierce County may see how it related to them.

There may be very few similarities between the collapse of Detroit and the financial struggles of Tacoma, but the ruling by a Federal Judge this past week does lay some groundwork for cities across the county. In 2011, the S&P downgraded the city of Tacoma from a AAA rating to a AA+ rating, which eventually dropped to a AA3 negative rating. While most cities in Pierce County remained the same, Tacoma dropped for a number of reasons that appear to have been resolved. Earlier this year, S&P and Moody’s updated Tacoma from a low, negative rating to a stronger A1 rating with a stable outlook for the future.

After the upgrade, Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland was pleased. During an interview with the Business Examiner in January of 2013, she said “These ratings are encouraging. They reflect that the City of Tacoma has made some tough decisions and is now on a more sustainable financial path.”

Tacoma will probably never have the financial problems that have plagued Detroit, but with the new ruling, it will be interesting to see how cities address their debt in the future. Cities can go bankrupt, much like businesses and individuals. Tacoma appears to be on the upswing, but having a city downgraded shows that growth in this economy is still difficult.

If you are facing problems with debt and thinking about filing for bankruptcy for your business or family, we here at Shillito and Giske can help. Financial difficulties are everywhere, from major cities to our friends and neighbors. Give us a call today and get the respect and help that you deserve.


Bankruptcy In Washington State: 2013

Thursday, August 28, 2014
Through the end of September 2013, nearly 25,000 residents of the State of Washington filed for one form or another of bankruptcy. That is nearly 1/8th of the population of the city of Tacoma filing for bankruptcy just in this last year. While the numbers may be shocking, what is amazing is looking at the numbers compared to city populations.  Instead of throwing numbers around, we take a look at what the numbers actually mean compared to cities around Washington State.

Through the 9th month of 2013, there were a total of 25,730 total bankruptcy filings for individuals, couples and businesses. That is as if the entire city of Maple Valley in King County filed for bankruptcy at the same time.

Business wise, 781 companies around the State of Washington filed for bankruptcy, which is also nearly the same size as the city of Mossyrock in Lewis County.

Through September of 2013, 24,949 individuals filed for bankruptcy. That is nearly the same amount of people who live on Mercer Island in King County.

Looking at Chapter7 Bankruptcy Filings for 2013 so far, 20,261 cases have been filed. This would be as if the entire polulation of Port Angeles in Clallam County filed for Chapter 7 this past year.

188 filings for Chapter 11 were issued, which is the average maximum occupancy at your favorite chain restaurant.

5,277 filed for Chapter 13 this past year, which is approximately the same as the population of the city of Ocean Shores in Grays Harbor County.

With a state Population that is estimated at around 6,897,000, the total number of people and businesses filing for bankruptcy seems small. However, when you think of the impact that having an entire city file for bankruptcy would have, this is a big deal.

We put these facts and figures out there for you to read so you can see you are not alone. Tens of thousands of people across the state are in the same boat as you. You are not alone and we can help you.

Contact us today if you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy.

For more information on State and County Bankruptcy Numbers:

Pierce County Bankruptcy Filings Through 9/13

Thursday, August 28, 2014
This year has been quite a difficult year for families across the country, but especially in Western Washington. Pierce County, with a population of 811,681, saw 3,858 people file for bankruptcy in the first nine months of 2013.

In this same time period, 136 businesses in Pierce County filed for bankruptcy, second only to the 232 businesses in King County.
A breakdown of the Non-Business Numbers, as gathered from USCourts.Gov:

  •           Through September 2013, 3,858 people filed for bankruptcy.
  1.           2,992 were Chapter 7
  2.           5 were Chapter 11
  3.           861 were Chapter 13
A Breakdown of the Business Numbers:

        136 businesses filed for bankruptcy
        19 filed Chapter 11
        4 file Chapter 13
If you are like many in Pierce County who run a business or are having difficulty with your personal finances, please contact us today. We can help you.

Further Information can be found here:

Holidays & Bankruptcy

Thursday, August 28, 2014
The Holidays are coming and that means some good news for the number of Americans filing for bankruptcy. Historically, the final months of the year are some of lowest months, but that doesn’t mean that people should be spending carelessly.  If you are feeling the stress of past due bills and outstanding debt, holiday spending is what will force many of our friends and neighbors in Pierce County to file for Bankruptcy in February.

The numbers are staggering, as the chart above shows. The month of February will see the highest number of bankruptcy filings throughout the year, and what you do right now could determine if you are one of the many who will need to file. The Holidays are a time to give, but we all need to make sure we do not give beyond our means. If you are already struggling to pay bills, rethink your big gift ideas this year and stay afloat financially.

If you are currently struggling with late payments, high interest rates and creditor phone calls, we can help you out. Located right in Tacoma, we are here for you. Call us today.

Government Shutdown & Bankruptcy

Thursday, August 28, 2014
If you are thinking of filing for bankruptcy, but are unsure if the current government shutdown will impact you, we have the answers you need. The quick answer is no, the United States Bankruptcy Courts are OPEN, at least, for now.

While bankruptcy proceedings will continue, 780 employees in the Justice Department’s U.S. Trustee Program have been furloughed. Only one third of the employees in the program will remain, cause a slow, steady backup. The U.S. Trustee Program is a watchdog agency that monitors bankruptcy proceedings around the nation.

With all of this unrest due to the Government Shutdown, many individuals and business may need to declare bankruptcy. While the process might slow down a little, we here at Shillito and Giske can help you. We understand that financial troubles are not set to the schedule of the Federal Government. We are here to help you.

If you are in the Tacoma or the Puget Sound region, give us a call, we can help! Call us today and ask how we can help you get back in charge of your financial life.


Filing for Bankruptcy with Student Loans

Thursday, August 28, 2014
While Student loans do not get forgiven when filing for bankruptcy, there are more rules while filing for Chapter 13. Student loans can be quite a financial stress, and it appears to be more stressful than previously thought.

When you go through Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, you are prohibited from making full payments on your student loans during the case’s three-to-five-year repayment schedule. The Wall Street Journal reports that because of the rule in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, lenders can add late fees and other penalties to your balance.

The fees are legal, as a way to stop the individual from filing from paying down their student loans while ignoring bills for other debts. While Chapter 13 Bankruptcy might be the only option, give us a call and we can discuss how to best tackle your debt problem.


Bankruptcy Trends In Pierce County

Thursday, August 28, 2014
We hear from clients who often feel like they are alone in filing for bankruptcy. The perception is that everyone else is doing just fine with their budget, but the reality is the opposite. From 2006 to 2011 over 20,000 people in Pierce County filed for bankruptcy. (The actual number is 21,121) This might seem low, but the population of Pierce County as of the 2011 census was 807,904. That means that 2% of the entire population of Pierce County has filed for bankruptcy in the last 6 years.


Nearly 2 out of 10 people around your area have filed for bankruptcy. That means when you are shopping at the grocery store, getting gas, or driving, someone around you has gone through the bankruptcy process. Bankruptcy is common, and we are Tacoma’s Bankruptcy experts.

If you or someone you know needs help filing for bankruptcy, we can help. Whether it is Chapter 11, Chapter 7 or even Chapter 13, we are here for you. Bankruptcy doesn’t need to be scary or something to be ashamed of. You are not alone. We help out people every day struggling with debt. Give us a call today.

Phone: (253) 572-4388

Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 11

Thursday, August 28, 2014
We get calls asking us for help and many times people aren't sure what classification they fit into. We figured we would help you sort through the confusion and give you clear, concise definitions of Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 bankruptcy. These are not the legal definitions, but should serve as a guide to help you decide which one is best for your situation.

Chapter 7: This is liquidation. If you file for Chapter 7, your assets will be sold and debt will be forgiven. Obviously, this is more complicated and we will gladly explain the finer details if you are looking for help.

Chapter 11: This is a repayment plan. If you file for Chapter 11, the courts will work out a payment plan to pay down your debts in a longer time period. For Chapter 11, there is no limit to the amount of secured debt you have, however, proof of a steady and reliable income must be shown.

If you think you may need to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 11, we can help. We are Tacoma’s Premiere Bankruptcy Attorneys, and we are ready to get you back on your feet. Contact us today.

Tacoma's Premier Bankruptcy Lawyer

Thursday, August 28, 2014
People ask us why we call ourselves Tacoma’s Premier bankruptcy lawyers and the answer is simple. We do our job the best we can for every single client, family, and business we represent. We fight for you and our results show this to be true.

Being located in Tacoma, we have seen the ebb and flow of financial successes and struggles here in Pierce County. We know that sometimes finances get out of control and the only way out is to file for bankruptcy. That is why we strive with every client to take away the fear, stress and frustration of filing for bankruptcy with our honest, friendly approach.

With well over 60 years of experience helping the community file for Chapter 7, Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, we feel confident in our abilities to get the best results for you. Take some time, give us a call and let us prove to you that we deserve the title of Tacoma’s Premier Bankruptcy Lawyers.

Help In Tacoma

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Here in Tacoma, we at Shillito Law are able to help you file for bankruptcy whether you are a large or small business or an individual who needs help. Located in Pierce County, we know the area well and have a strong, proud history of helping the community.

We are proud of our history and service to the great Puget Sound area and want to help you. We understand the decision to file for bankruptcy, whether it is for you and your family or for your business can be a difficult one, but our goal is to help you as best we can. We specialize in everything from debt collections to credit help and Chapters 7, 11 and 13 bankruptcies, and we do so out of care for the community. If you want to be represented by Tacoma’s Premier Bankruptcy Lawyers, give us a call today.


Phone:  253.572.4388  |  Fax:  253.572.4497  |  Email:  |  1919 North Pearl St, C-2,  Tacoma, WA  98406