All items from Oregon Bankruptcy Lawyer

If you lost your Oregon home in a foreclosure or gave it up in a short sale prior to 2014, there were no tax repercussions to the forgiveness of debt. Unfortunately, the exception in the tax laws that made this so has now expired.
If you lost your principal residence in a foreclosure or gave it up in a short sale in 2014, you may still need to pay taxes on the forgiven debt. Until cooler heads prevail and the exception in the tax laws is reenacted, there are still two ways to avoid going out of pocket to the tax man. These exceptions can be applied not only to debts forgiven in a short sale or foreclosure but to debts eliminated in a debt settlement arrangement.
1. Insolvency: Forgiven debt is not counted as income if your remaining debts are greater than the value of your assets when the forgiveness occurs. So take away the mortgage that was foreclosed and total up the value of your assets and determine if the total value of those assets is less than what you still owe. Chances are if you are on this website, the answer is that your stuff is worth considerably less than what you owe on your other debts. The only real wrinkle is that the value of your 401k will be counted in the asset total.r.
2. Bankruptcy Discharge: Debt discharged in bankruptcy cannot create tax liability if the sale takes place later. Your personal liability is extinguished by the bankruptcy so there is no debt forgiveness in the later foreclosure or short sale.

Posted 5 weeks 5 days ago

Many prospective bankruptcy filers in Oregon are understandably concerned about the privacy of their filing. At least once or twice a year someone chooses to come in for a consultation with our firm because we have offices in four different cities. I guess the thought is I can meet these guys in Portland where I live, but they can file my bankruptcy in Salem where no one knows me. We can’t.
The good news though is it really doesn’t matter where we file because no one that matters is really going to find out. Filings are posted in the paper, but you really need to ask yourself, how much time do you spend poring over bankruptcy filings? The answer is that you haven’t and that you probably wouldn’t know where to look. In Portland, like most cities, the bankruptcy court doesn’t pay for bankruptcy filing posting in a major paper, like the Oregonian or even the Willamette Week. Filings are posted in the Portland Business Journal which has a circulation of about twelve and doesn’t have an online classified section. What about online?
In both Oregon and Washington, bankruptcy filings can be found online, but only if you have an account with the court’s search system and pay the eight cents per page for downloads.

Posted 8 weeks 6 days ago

Do I file jointly with my spouse or can I just file alone? Every prospective bankruptcy filer in the state of Oregon asks this question. Many Portland and Salem filers just don’t want their spouses involved, particularly if the would be filer just isn’t comfortable with the potential impact it could have on their spouse. For other prospective Oregon Bankruptcy filers, the idea of dragging their spouse through the filling process just isn’t particularly appealing.
Remember that if you file together in Oregon, the available exemptions for protecting your real and personal property will nearly double. The cost of filing bankruptcy will remain the same(well with our firm anyway) and you will get rid of all your spouse’s debts as well as yours.
You should consider that filing separately is still going to subject your spouse to some of the bankruptcy process. She won’t need to sign anything or appear at any hearing, but your attorney is still going to need all her paystubs for the seven months or so prior to filing and, as likely as not, her tax return, even if she filed separately. Moreover, your Oregon bankruptcy attorney will still need a summary of her ongoing living expenses.

Posted 9 weeks 1 day ago

If you are on cusp of filing for divorce in Oregon and need to figure out what to do about all the debt, meeting with an experienced Portland or Salem Bankruptcy Attorney is likely a great first step.
If there aren’t any potential conflicts between you and your spouse (no secured debts, no potential child support obligations, no tax issues, just a bunch of unsecured debt), filing together prior to dissolution is often a great way to resolve the debt issues and save alot of money in the divorce since you no longer have to spend any time and attorney fees figuring out who is going to deal with the credit cards and who is going to handle the collectors.
If there are potential conflicts, you will need to file individually. For example, if you are both on the boat and car loans, he wants to keep them and you are worried that he might not be able to later, you should probably not file together. You want to keep the house, he isn’t so sure, you want to get rid of the cars, he wants to keep making payments.
Your spouse’s income level can also be an issue. Let’s say he makes more than you do and he doesn’t qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, only Chapter 13. Do you really want to be part of his Chapter 13 when you can file Chapter 7 alone later after the divorce. Normally, you wouldn’t but, under some circumstances it might actually be helpful. Only you with the help of your Portland or Salem, Oregon Bankruptcy attorney can tell.

Posted 9 weeks 4 days ago

In Oregon, if a judgement has been entered against you and you have not filed  bankruptcy, the judgement creditor can garnish your bank account. Once your bank account is garnished, you will receive a challenge to garnishment form which is sometimes also referred to as a Claim of Exemption. Once you receive it,  you will need to complete the form and file it with the court as quickly as possible in order to claim that your property is exempt from garnishment. After you file a Challenge to Garnishment, there will be a court hearing in which a judge will determine whether your account is exempt.
Unfortunately, until the court determines that the money in your account is exempt (sadly needing to keep the money is not an Oregon exemption), your account will be frozen. You will not be able to withdraw and money or write checks, even worse the checks that you have already written will now bounce.
If you do have judgments it is probably high time to consult with a bankruptcy attorney. Even if you believe that you can ultimately handle your debts on your own, it is worth considering whether Chapter 13 bankruptcy might be a better framework for trying to repay some of your debts that risking going it alone. Most of us really can’t afford to even temporarily lose access to our accounts, let alone having them frozen and losing every dime. 

Posted 9 weeks 6 days ago

Attorney General, Eric Holder, has just announced that the U.S. government will now recognize same-sex marriages as equal to traditional marriages in all federal legal matters. Couples legally married in states like Washington where same-sex marriage is permitted will now be able to file bankruptcy cases in Oregon jointly despite the fact that Oregon does Read MoreThe original post is titled Same Sex Married Couples May Now File Joint Bankruptcy Petitions in Oregon , and it came from Oregon Bankruptcy Lawyer | Portland, Salem, and Vancouver, Wa .

Posted 9 weeks 6 days ago

The unfortunate answer to this question is yes they can. Oregon case law permits bank’s the right of set off which enables them to take money out of your account to pay back any money you owe to them as long as you have signed an agreement giving them that right. If you signed such an agreement, it probably wasn’t when you set up the actual account but when you signed up for the credit card or took out the loan.
The sad fact is that most Oregonians don’t find out about the set offs until after the bank has taken their social security check. For safety’s sake the best thing anyone can do is use a different lending institution than the one that you owe money to as your primary bank. For example, if your car loan or credit card are through Wells Fargo and the checking account where you social security checks deposited is also located at Wells Fargo, maybe it’s time to start having the checks automatically deposited at a bank where you have no credit relationship.
If you are contemplating filing bankruptcy, you may want to seriously consider setting up a bank account at a bank or credit union where you have no credit relationship. Though few banks currently offset at the time of a bankruptcy filing their numbers are increasing so why take any chances?

Posted 10 weeks 1 day ago

Low income debtors, particularly seniors and the disabled, across the state of Oregon are often concerned about a collectors’ ability to garnish of levy their social security or SSI benefits. Thankfully, the answer is almost alays a resounding; however, as with all things, there are exceptions to this rule. These exceptions are as follows:

  1. Up to fifteen percent of your social security checks, but not your SSI,  can be taken every year to repay federal taxes;
  2. Any amount over $750 per month can be garnished from your social security checks, but not your SSI, to collect federal debts other than taxes;
  3. If you have a current Oregon support order, the monthly amounts can be taken out of your social security checks, but not your SSI checks;
  4. If you have back owed child support an additional twenty percent can be taken out of your social security, but not SSI. If you only owe back child support, the total amount taken out can never be more than half of your social security, unless a court orders otherwise.

The reality is that in Oregon a Chapter 13 bankruptcy will put an end to garnishments for back owed support.The back owed support will be paid but at zero percent interest over a long period of time and only after secured obligations such as needed vehicle payments and mortgage arrears are taken care of.

Posted 10 weeks 1 day ago

You never want to put all your eggs in one basket, but for many Oregonians  behind on their mortgages, it sometimes feels like they don’t have any choice.  Do they  put all my effort into modifying their mortgages, or do they  file Chapter 13 bankruptcy to stop the lender from either initiating or completing the foreclosure process and then try to modify the mortgage later once they are safely under the protection of the bankruptcy court?
For Oregonians who are already in default, it’s obviously risky to assume that the mortgage modifications are going to go through prior to foreclosure. Sadly,  it often seems like the lenders hold out the carrot of modification up to the date the property is sold off on the courthouse steps. With this in mind, let’s consider a couple of the risk factors  associated with modification that argue for taking an aggressive approach with respect to seeking bankruptcy relief.
First, if you have already been denied for an application and there really hasn’t been much of a change in your financial circumstances, it’s probably time to consider options outside of modification. Sometimes the filing Chapter 13 provides the change of circumstances that you will need to ultimately modify the mortgage. Sometimes lenders faced with the prospect of being repaid mortgage arrears at zero percent interest over three to five years become a bit more reasonable about granting modifications.

Posted 10 weeks 2 days ago

Our firm is launching a Seattle Bankruptcy website as the first in a series of city specific bankruptcy law websites. The idea is that people living in Seattle, Washington probably don’t want to wade through articles about Portland bankruptcy hearings and trustees and vice versa. The first of these sites is going to be geared towards Seattle area prospective bankruptcy clients. The site can be found at
The site is just starting up and far from finished but it should ultimately be helpful to people contemplating bankruptcy in the Seattle area. I look forward to launching sites geared only towards people living int the Vancouver, Washington area as well as city specific ones for people living in Portland and Salem, Oregon.
The original post is titled Seattle Bankruptcy Attorney Website , and it came from Oregon Bankruptcy Lawyer | Portland, Salem, and Vancouver, Wa .

Posted 11 weeks 1 day ago