Bankruptcy FAQ’s

Sometimes it is easy to determine which bankruptcy option is better for you chapter 7 bankruptcy, or chapter 13 bankruptcy. Other times it is a more difficult call to make. For instance, are you behind on your mortgage and want an opportunity to catch up on missed payments? If so, a chapter 13 bankruptcy could provide that opportunity. Do you owe taxes for older tax years that were all filed on time? In this case a chapter 7 bankruptcy may be the better option. But if you owe payroll taxes or filed your taxes late, then a chapter 13 bankruptcy might work better for you. Bankruptcy is a complex area of the law, and you need experienced guidance so you don’t do the wrong thing. We have years of experience with both simple and complex bankruptcies. Let us use our experience to help you.

There are income qualifications regarding who may file a chapter 7 bankruptcy. And depending on what you earn, your expenses, and the number of dependants you have, you may qualify to file a chapter 7 bankruptcy and discharge your debts. However, even if you earn too much to file a chapter 7, you may still qualify to file a chapter 13 bankruptcy. We are happy to discuss your options with you.

It can be a very upsetting experience to be served with a lawsuit. Creditors do have a right to sue on a valid debt, but bankruptcy stops the process. Even if you have a judgement against you, or are currently being garnished, bankruptcy can end that nightmare. If the debt isn’t yours, or was already paid or settled, or if you have been harassed by a third party debt collector, let us know. You may have options other than bankruptcy.

There are a number of bankruptcy courts in Oregon. If you live in, or near, Portland Oregon, you will file in that court and have your meeting of creditors there, as well. Otherwise your bankruptcy will be filed in the district appropriate in which you live and attend your Meeting of Creditors in that district.

Filing a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy can prevent repossession and give you a chance to catch up on back payments. If your car has already been repossessed, we may still be able to help you get it back depending on how recently it was taken. Even if you can’t get the car back, or don’t want to, that debt can still typically be discharged in a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Debts incurred after filing will not be discharged in your bankruptcy. Additionally, if you owe money on a secured debt, such as a car loan, but don’t make payments as agreed after the bankruptcy, then that creditor does have a right to contact you. However, sometimes creditors and debt collectors will try to collect on a debt even after it has been legally discharged in a bankruptcy. This collection activity is in violation of the Bankruptcy Code. Call or write to the creditor and supply them with your filing number and the date that you filed. If they still try to collect, or otherwise threaten or harass you, let us know. We file law suits against creditors who break the law and continue to try to collect debts that have been legally discharged.

Yes. Bankruptcy filing stops garnishment. It can also stop repossession of a vehicle.

Every individual’s situation is different. Bankruptcy may not be the best option for you, depending on various factors. If this is the case in your situation, we will let you know and discuss this with you. We also negotiate debts settlements with creditors and debt collectors on behalf of clients. For some individuals this is a better option than filing a bankruptcy. Call us for a consultation so we can help you explore your alternatives and enable you to make intelligent choices.

The Bankruptcy Trustee is the individual appointed to administer your bankruptcy case under federal law and ensure that your creditors are treated fairly and have the opportunity to receive compensation from your bankruptcy estate if any compensation is available.

In every chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcy case, the debtor meets with the Bankruptcy Trustee approximately a month after the case has been filed, in the “First Meeting of Creditors. This meeting is also called the 341(a) hearing because it is required by section 341(a) of the United States Bankruptcy Code. The Bankruptcy Trustee will review your bankruptcy Petition and Schedules with you and may ask some additional questions. This meeting is mandatory and without it you will not receive a discharge of debt. In a chapter 7 bankruptcy you can expect to receive a discharge within approximately two to four months after your 341(a) hearing. In a chapter 13 bankruptcy you will receive a discharge within three to five years depending on your situation.

No. Filing a bankruptcy, chapter 7 or chapter 13, should not hinder the loan modification process. And in some cases, we may be able to help you obtain a loan modification through a chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Yes, filing a bankruptcy will stop a foreclosure in the vast majority of cases. Additionally, chapter 13 bankruptcy may give you the opportunity to catch up on payments you have missed so you once again are current on your payments. In some cases we may also be able to help you obtain a loan modification through the chapter 13 bankruptcy process. A chapter 7 bankruptcy will also temporarily stop foreclosure in most cases, but does not enable an individual to catch up on missed mortgage payments.

Many individuals worry that if they have equity in their home, it will be taken during bankruptcy proceedings. Oregon bankruptcy exemptions can protect the equity in your home (called homestead exemptions) up to certain dollar amounts. And even if you are the rarer individual with excess equity in your home, there are still actions that can be taken to protect that equity. Feel free to call us if this is a concern that you have.

Tax debt may be dischargeable through bankruptcy in certain cases, depending on what type of taxes are owed, when the taxes were due, and when the tax returns were filed. Even when tax debt is not dischargeable in bankruptcy, we may still be able to eliminate the penalties that have accrued, which in some cases may be a substantial portion of the debt. There are complex rules regarding handling tax debts, which apply to both federal and state taxes. This is an area of focus in our practice. We can discuss your options for discharging tax debt in bankruptcy, or using some other method to help you eliminate or get a handle on your tax situation if bankruptcy is not your best option.

We file cases in Multnomah County, and across the state. Many bankruptcy firms do not file the type of complex cases that we have become known for. In order to better help our clients we are prepared to file in multiple venues.

Debt Settlement FAQ’s

Every individual’s situation is different. Bankruptcy may not be the best option for you, depending on various factors. If this is the case in your situation, we will let you know and discuss this with you. We also negotiate debts settlements with creditors and debt collectors on behalf of clients. For some individuals this is a better option than filing a bankruptcy. Call us for a consultation so we can help you explore your alternatives and enable you to make intelligent choices.

We have successfully settled second mortgage accounts when foreclosure has already occurred. We have also settled second mortgage accounts in cases where the home-owner still has the house, intends to keep it, and is not in foreclosure. Call us to see if we are able to help you get rid of a second mortgage or Home Equity Line of Credit.

Yes. However there is no way of predicting with certainty if you will be sued, and when you might be sued. We keep records of every settlement we have done, and which of these creditors has filed suit; so our ability to predict will be a little higher than yours, but regardless, there is no way to know for sure. In the event that we represent you when you are sued, there are certain actions we may be able to take to stop or slow the suit. Once you have settled the debt you can no longer be legally sued for that same debt, or for any portion that was forgiven in the settlement. However, many times when an individual thinks they have settled a debt, they may not have actually done so. When we settle a debt we ensure that the settlement is valid and binding and we keep copies of all correspondence.

A debt can still be settled even if you have been sued, or a judgement has been obtained. Most judgements can also be discharged in bankruptcy.

Fortunately this type of scenario only occurs small a minority of the time. In this type of situation it is probably better to have an attorney sort out the situation and do the settlement so you are protected in the future from claims that the debt was not correctly settled.

Yes. Second mortgages and Home Equity Lines of Credit can be settled after a foreclosure has occurred. Unless you have discharged a junior mortgage through bankruptcy, you may still be liable for this debt.

This is a possibility and it is something we have done for a number of clients, but is substantially more difficult than settling a second mortgage after foreclosure. Call us to set up an appointment where we can evaluate the pros and cons of your particular situation.

Foreclosure FAQ’s

You may have a few options. In some cases, depending on the facts of your situation, litigation may be a solution. One option with a more certain outcome is a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. This stops the foreclosure and gives you the opportunity to catch up on back payments over a period of 36 to 60 months. Or we may be able to obtain a loan modification for you even if you have been unsuccessful at getting one previously. If you have received a foreclosure notice, call us to make an appointment to discuss your options. Though we can stop a foreclosure even at the last minute, it is always better not to wait until the eleventh hour to set up a consultation.
When you miss mortgage payments, or are late with payments, this puts you in default on the loan. Though many mortgage servicers are willing to work with home-owner despite late payments, your mortgage servicer may have the right to refuse your payments and start foreclosure proceedings. If this has happened to you, there is still hope. There are a few tools that can be used to remedy the situation. Call us so we can explore your options and potentially save your home.
In many cases foreclosure will satisfy a first mortgage, but not a second mortgage. Surrendering your house in bankruptcy will eliminate the second mortgage so that you do not owe a deficiency from the second. However, if you want to keep your house a Chapter 13 can sometimes be used to strip off the second or third mortgage or other liens leaving you owing only the first mortgage once your bankruptcy is discharged. The ability to strip a second or third mortgage depends on the value of the home, the amount of the senior mortgage, and can only be done in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.
Unfortunately no mortgage servicer is required to modify your loan, and loan modification statistics, overall, are not very good. However, some mortgage servicers are beginning to set up programs that may actually lead to a sustainable modification. We may be able to advise if you qualify for these programs, and if you do, help you to get a modification that will work for you. Also, there may be other avenues available to you if you are currently facing foreclosure, including Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

No. Filing a bankruptcy, chapter 7 or chapter 13, should not hinder the loan modification process. And in some cases, we may be able to help you obtain a loan modification through a chapter 13 bankruptcy.

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Yes, filing a bankruptcy will stop a foreclosure in the vast majority of cases. Additionally, chapter 13 bankruptcy may give you the opportunity to catch up on payments you have missed so you once again are current on your payments. In some cases we may also be able to help you obtain a loan modification through the chapter 13 bankruptcy process. A chapter 7 bankruptcy will also temporarily stop foreclosure in most cases, but does not enable an individual to catch up on missed mortgage payments.
When you miss mortgage payments, or are late with payments, this puts you in default on the loan. Though many mortgage servicers are willing to work with home-owners despite late payments, your mortgage servicer may have the right to refuse your payments and start foreclosure proceedings. If this has happened to you, there is still hope. There are a few tools that can be used to remedy the situation. Call us so we can explore your options and potentially save your home.
We have successfully settled second mortgage accounts when foreclosure has already occurred. We have also settled second mortgage accounts in cases where the home-owner still has the house, intends to keep it, and is not in foreclosure. Call us to see if we are able to help you get rid of a second mortgage or Home Equity Line of Credit.

Tax Debt FAQ’s

This means that the IRS is going to garnish your pay check for back taxes that you owe. There are a number of things that can be done to stop this from happening, depending on the details of your taxes and your current financial situation, including an Offer in Compromise, an Installment Agreement, and Bankruptcy. We handle this type of situation on a regular basis and are one of the few offices that handle both tax debt and consumer and business debt. This means that we may be able to help you explore options that are not readily available elsewhere.

Tax debt may be dischargeable through bankruptcy in certain cases, depending on what type of taxes are owed, when the taxes were due, and when the tax returns were filed. Even when tax debt is not dischargeable in bankruptcy, we may still be able to eliminate the penalties that have accrued, which in some cases may be a substantial portion of the debt. There are complex rules regarding handling tax debts, which apply to both federal and state taxes. This is an area of focus in our practice. We can discuss your options for discharging tax debt in bankruptcy, or using some other method to help you eliminate or get a handle on your tax situation if bankruptcy is not your best option.
A Distraint Warrant is issued when the taxes become delinquent and no payment is made in response to the delinquency notice. The warrant functions as a judgement against you and gives the state the right to garnish wages or bank accounts.
CNC or Currently Not Collectable Status may be obtainable from the IRS or state if you are able to demonstrate to their satisfaction that you are currently experiencing certain financial problems that would make it impossible to pay taxes due. This is something we may be able to help you with, and it is also something that tax payers are able to do on their own. Click here to go to our links page where you can find links for the IRS, and various state taxes boards.
No. Failure to file taxes is not a criminal act and you can’t be sent to jail because you have not filed your taxes. However, not filing taxes can lead to other problems. The IRS or state can put a lien on real property and garnish bank accounts or wages to satisfy outstanding balances. The cases you hear about where individuals have been sent to jail is where individuals knowingly committed acts such as tax evasion or fraud.
Yes, we can prepare and resubmit your offer. Often times an individual will qualify for an offer in compromise, but they don’t understand how the IRS analyses information or makes their decisions. Fortunately, we do understand. We have been able to get offers approved that were initially turned down. Your tax debt may also be dischargeable in a bankruptcy, or penalties may be eliminated through bankruptcy.
This is called a substitute return and can be filed by the IRS or state when an individual has not filed their own returns for several years. The income they show for you may not be accurate because they are only guessing at the amount of money you have earned and they will not credit you with any deductions. They obtain their information from various sources and this information may not be accurate. If you have had a substitute return filed for you and you now owe a significant amount of tax you should call us. We may be able to help you to resolve the situation.

Consumer Litigation FAQ’s

You have the right to inform creditors and debt collectors that you are not allowed to receive their calls at work. If you inform them of us this, per federal and many state laws, they must stop calling you at your workplace. Keep good records of who you spoke to and when you told them not to contact you at your workplace. If they continue to call you at work despite this, let us know. We file lawsuits against abusive debt collectors. If you have other debts, as well, we may be able to discharge all of your debt in bankruptcy, or if that is not a good option for you, we may be able to settle your debts for significantly less than you owe.
Your creditors do have the right to contact you regarding past due balance. However they do not have the right to be rude to you, threaten, or yell at you. If any of these things have occurred, make good notes of who the collector was, what was said, and the date. In some cases we may be able to file a law suit against the creditor if actual harassment has occurred. They are also prohibited from discussing your account with anybody other than you.
Depending on the circumstances we may be able to help. Call us.
Debt collectors are prohibited by the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) from contacting friends, relatives, or co-workers and discussing your account with them. A debt collector does have the right to call someone else one time to try to obtain contact information for you if they do not have a viable way to contact you. But they are not allowed to discuss your account, and they are not allowed to continue to call if the person tells them they do not have contact information for you. If a debt collector contacts someone other than you and discuss your account or tries to collect money from them, you have certain rights under the FDCPA. Contact us to find out what we may be able to do to stop the calls. In some cases, if there was substantial abuse, or these calls to others caused you to experience extreme embarrassment or some other unwanted situation, we may be able to file a lawsuit against the collector.
Debts incurred after filing will not be discharged in your bankruptcy. Additionally, if you owe money on a secured debt, such as a car loan, but don’t make payments as agreed after the bankruptcy, then that creditor does have a right to contact you. However, sometimes creditors and debt collectors will try to collect on a debt even after it has been legally discharged in a bankruptcy. This collection activity is in violation of the Bankruptcy Code. Call or write to the creditor and supply them with your filing number and the date that you filed. If they still try to collect, or otherwise threaten or harass you, let us know. We file law suits against creditors who break the law and continue to try to collect debts that have been legally discharged.
Individuals in this country cannot be arrested merely for not being able to pay their bills; and a debt collector is prohibited from threatening such an action. The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act was written to protect consumers from being harassed or threatened by debt collectors. If a debt collector has threatened you in this manner, or been otherwise threatening, intimidating, or used foul or abusive language, to you or family members, keep good records of the calls noting the name of the collection agency and the individual collector, the date and time of the call, and what was said. Good records can lead to great lawsuits against the debt collector.
Depending on the circumstances we may be able to help. Give us a call to set up a no-charge consultation.
It can be a very upsetting experience to be served with a lawsuit. Creditors do have a right to sue on a valid debt, but bankruptcy stops the process. Even if you have a judgement against you, or are currently being garnished, bankruptcy can end that nightmare. If the debt isn’t yours, or was already paid or settled, or if you have been harassed by a third party debt collector, let us know. You may have options other than bankruptcy.