the Upsolve Team

the Upsolve Team

Upsolve is lucky to have an incredible team of contributing writers all over the country to help us keep our content up to date, informative, and helpful for everyone who visits upsolve.org!

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Bankruptcy and the Homestead Exemption

Bankruptcy exemptions play an important role in Chapter 7 cases, and the homestead exemption may be the most important of all. It’s the homestead exemption that makes it possible for many people to wipe out unsecured debt in Chapter 7 bankruptcy without losing their homes. In this article, you’ll learn how the homestead exemption may protect your house in bankruptcy. We’ll also touch on some of the limitations of the homestead exemption. And, we’ll discuss alternatives for people who aren’t fully protected by their state’s exemptions.

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How to Deal with Debt Collectors (when you can’t pay)

If you’re receiving calls from debt collectors about unpaid debt, there’s an obvious way to make it go away: Pay off the debt in question. But what if you’re at a point where it’s impossible for you to pay? It might seem like you’re out of options, but don’t despair - there’s a way out of this.

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What Happens if You Ignore Debt Collectors?

Most of us don’t like talking to debt collectors. Anxiety over past-due bills runs high enough. No one wants the added pressure of collection calls and threatening letters. To make matters worse, many people who have collection accounts feel powerless. When there isn’t enough money to go around, it may seem pointless to pick up the phone and talk to a collection agency. Even talking with an original creditor can be tough once your account moves into collection status. Fortunately, you have options for taking charge of your debt and rebuilding financial security. Upsolve is here to help you find the information you need to make the right decision for you and your family.

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The COVID-19 Corona Virus and your bankruptcy case: Frequently Asked Questions

The Bankruptcy Court has been closely monitoring and following recommended guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local public health officials, and preparedness guidelines from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (AO) regarding the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and is releasing updates almost daily. This article provides some guidance for frequently asked questions.

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What are Priority Unsecured Debts?

We usually hear debts divided into two categories: secured and unsecured. A debt is secured if the lender has a security interest in some property and can take that property if you don’t pay. But, in bankruptcy, there are other important distinctions. Some unsecured debts get special treatment. In this article, we’ll explain the different types of unsecured debt, and what it means when a debt has priority.

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Corporate Bankruptcy Explained

When a corporation gets into financial trouble, the company may be able to file for bankruptcy protection. In some ways, corporate bankruptcy is like consumer bankruptcy. But, there are also important differences. In this article, you’ll learn how the two types of business bankruptcy differ, how each works, and how corporate bankruptcy is different from personal bankruptcy.

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Does Bankruptcy Clear Judgments?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy can eliminate many unsecured debts. Some unsecured debt can even be discharged in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case. But, what happens if credit card debt, medical bills, personal loans, or other unsecured debt is reduced to judgment? When a creditor or debt buyer files a lawsuit and gets a judgment against you, that generally doesn’t change whether the debt is dischargeable. That means some judgment debts are dischargeable and some are nondischargeable. The question becomes a bit more complicated if the creditor gets a judgment lien on your property. But, you may be able to avoid judgment liens in bankruptcy, keep your property, and discharge the debt. Here’s how it works.

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What are the Oregon Bankruptcy Exemptions?

There is some good news for Oregonians who are looking to file for bankruptcy protection in the state. Note that now there are 2 separate systems of bankruptcy exemptions to protect Oregon filers in bankruptcy. The Governor signed a significant law on July 1, 2013, that now allows individuals filing either Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in the state to elect to use federal bankruptcy exemptions. It is a huge change to the bankruptcy process in Oregon with a substantial impact on bankruptcy cases now being filed.

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What are the Colorado Bankruptcy Exemptions?

While the U.S. Bankruptcy Code operates in basically the same way throughout the country, there is one important exception: States have the ability to choose whether their residents can use the federal bankruptcy exemptions or have to use the exemptions available under state law even in a bankruptcy. While some US states allow people to choose between exemptions drafted by state lawmakers and federal bankruptcy exemptions, as a Colorado resident, you are not permitted to use the federal exemptions. Fortunately, Colorado has generous bankruptcy exemptions that can protect your property. So, you will have to use Colorado’s bankruptcy exemptions and federal nonbankruptcy exemptions, if applicable in your case. Unless stated otherwise, married couples in the state filing together can usually “double” the amount, provided both have an ownership interest in the relevant asset or property.

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What are Non-Dischargeable Debts in a Bankruptcy Filing?

Non-dischargeable debts are debts that can’t be eliminated in a bankruptcy because the U.S. Bankruptcy Code doesn’t allow it. If you have non-dischargeable debts, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case will not get rid of the debt. However, a Chapter 7 case can get rid of other debts so that you can pay non-dischargeable debts. Most debts are eligible for a discharge in Chapter 7.

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What are Non-Dischargeable Debts in a Bankruptcy Filing?

Non-dischargeable debts are debts that can’t be eliminated in a bankruptcy because the U.S. Bankruptcy Code doesn’t allow it. If you have non-dischargeable debts, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case will not get rid of the debt. However, a Chapter 7 case can get rid of other debts so that you can pay non-dischargeable debts. Most debts are eligible for a discharge in Chapter 7.

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Chapter 7 Document Checklist

Filing bankruptcy is a very document intensive process. This shouldn’t be a surprise, as the petition the filer submits to the bankruptcy court can be up to 100 pages long. Since preparing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be stressful, scary, and confusing, it can be helpful to use checklists to keep yourself on track. In this article, we’ll look at what documents you’ll need to gather to ensure your case proceeds smoothly and without unnecessary complications.

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What is Debt and How Should I Handle It?

Debt is money borrowed that has to be paid back over a period of time. Lending institutions, like banks, will lend you money so you can make a purchase. In turn they expect you to pay them back, with interest. Debt can be classified in two broad categories: corporate debt vs. personal debt. Corporate debt involves loans between businesses and, generally speaking, has little to no impact on personal debt. This article will explain the most common types of consumer (personal) debt and how to handle it.

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How to Pay Off Credit Card Debt When You Have No Money

There are a number of strategies to put in place when you find yourself in credit card debt. Common advice includes tightening your budget, prioritizing your highest-interest accounts and negotiating with creditors. But those strategies only work if you actually have some money to put toward paying down your credit card debt. What are you supposed to do if you truly have little to no money to put toward your debt?

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What Does Bankruptcy Mean?

Bankruptcy is one of those words that everyone’s heard but many don’t really know what it means. Especially with so many high profile bankruptcies in the news these days, it can be hard to figure how bankruptcy can actually help a regular consumer. Let’s take a look at what bankruptcy means and how the different types of bankruptcy enable you to take back charge of your finances.

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Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Many low-income debtors have to decide between filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This Upsolve guide will help you figure out which type of bankruptcy is best for you.

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A Message for Users Who Generated Their Forms from March 15, 2020 to March 31, 2020

We just sent this message to all Upsolve users who have recently generated their completed forms but have not filed them yet. If you have generated your forms and are planning to file them, please read on. IMPORTANT UPDATE for Upsolve Users on Dealing with $1200 Stimulus Check During Bankruptcy!

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What are the Ohio Bankruptcy Exemptions?

Although some states in the country allow people to choose between the federal bankruptcy exemptions and state exemptions, this option is not available if you are filing bankruptcy in Ohio. Ohio, like many other states, has its own bankruptcy exemptions. If you’ve lived in Ohio for at least 2 years when filing your case, you have to use the Ohio bankruptcy exemptions and can’t use federal exemptions Note that one great advantage of using state bankruptcy exemptions in Ohio is that you will have an additional list of bankruptcy exemptions that might be available to you. So, while you have to use Ohio bankruptcy exemptions if you file a bankruptcy in the state, you can use the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions as well. These exemptions protect certain qualifying property, like federal and military retirement benefits.

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What are the Wisconsin Bankruptcy Exemptions?

You will find a list of available exemptions in the federal Bankruptcy Code, or you may instead decide to use exemptions available under Wisconsin law. However, keep in mind that each state has the option of “opting out” of this scheme. Bankruptcy filers in an opt-out state may only use their state exemptions and not use the federal exemptions. As Wisconsin hasn’t opted out of the choice between state exemptions and federal exemptions, Wisconsinites who file bankruptcy can choose between federal bankruptcy exemptions or state exemptions. Actually, you will be happy to know that Wisconsin is one of the few US states that allows filers this choice, and this is a real advantage if you are filing Chapter 7 in the state. However, keep in mind that you are not allowed to cherry-pick exemptions from both lists; you can select only one set of exemptions. If you’re using Wisconsin law to exempt your property, you can also use the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions, if applicable. This also means that if you’re filing for bankruptcy in the state, you should review both sets of exemptions and then choose what scheme can best protect your property. Hiring an attorney can be helpful in this respect.

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What to do if you have to get something notarized for your bankruptcy case

While it’s not common in bankruptcy cases, there are occasions when a filer may be required to submit a document with a notarized signature. When a signature is notarized, the notary public has confirmed the identity of the person signing the document and made sure that the person is signing the document voluntarily. 

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What is Upsolve's Contact Information?

As a small nonprofit we sadly don't have the resources to be able to provide phone or other live support. If you are a current user and need to get in touch with us, please please visit help.upsolve.org and use the "Submit a Request" feature in the top right corner to send us a message and someone will get back to you as soon as possible. If you have general questions about filing bankruptcy, feel free to visit our Learning Center any time to find out more about the process and what to expect.

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Is Upsolve the same as DebtorCC?

No, Upsolve is not the same as DebtorCC. Upsolve is a legal aid nonprofit that helps low-income Americans get Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief without an attorney. DebtorCC is a government approved credit counseling company that offers the required pre- and post-filing bankruptcy courses to folks in all 50 states.

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Should I inform my tax preparer about my bankruptcy case

Yes. If you find out that you are owed a refund there may be special instructions provided by your trustee that you will need to follow regarding your refund check that your tax preparer must know before filing your returns.

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What’s the difference between a discharge and dismissal in bankruptcy?

Many individuals filing bankruptcy for the first time are unsure of the terminology used by lawyers and the courts. Two words that frequently confuse first-time filers are “dismissed” and “discharged.” The purpose of this article is to explain the difference between the two and when lawyers and the court are most likely to use them when referring to your case.

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Everything you need to know about the new Upsolve Local

Upsolve Local, launched in 2020, is a product that allows bankruptcy attorneys to be matched with high-intent consumers who want to file for bankruptcy. If you’re considering becoming a member of the Upsolve Local community of law firms and lawyers, keep reading to find out more. 

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Where can I take the first credit counseling course?

Log in to your Upsolve account, and we'll give you the instructions. Upsolve users should go to [DebtorCC.org](http://bit.ly/2kQEQFx "debtorcc.org"). 

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What are the Illinois Bankruptcy Exemptions?

If you have done a bit of research on bankruptcy cases in Illinois or exempt property, you will probably have come across the terms federal bankruptcy exemptions and state exemptions. Many states in the US allow people to choose between the federal exemptions and state exemptions. However, you don’t have that option in Illinois. In Illinois, you are not permitted to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions if you’ve lived in the state for at least 2 years when you file bankruptcy. Fortunately, Illinois has generous bankruptcy exemptions that can protect your property.

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What are the Florida Bankruptcy Exemptions?

If you have done some research on bankruptcy cases or exempt property, you will probably have come across the terms federal bankruptcy exemptions and state exemptions. Although the federal Bankruptcy Code has a list of bankruptcy exemptions, these exemptions aren’t available in Florida. In Florida, you are not permitted to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions. Florida residents have to use the state exemptions. Also, you can use the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions contained in the federal law if you have any assets covered by them.

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What are the California Bankruptcy Exemptions?

If you are a California resident, you can’t protect your possessions, like bank deposits and commercial vehicles, under the Bankruptcy Code’s exemptions. So, Californians filing bankruptcy have to use California exemption law. Some states permit filers to choose between a set of federal bankruptcy exemptions and the state exemption system. However, California isn’t one of them. California is called an “opt-out” state, which means federal bankruptcy exemptions are not available to filers in the state.

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What are the Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions?

There are both federal laws and state laws that apply to bankruptcy and each set of laws has its own bankruptcy exemptions. The federal government makes its federal bankruptcy exemptions available to anyone who files Chapter 7 bankruptcy regardless of what state they file in. But, each state has the right to restrict its residents to using the state exemptions, having “opted out” of the federal bankruptcy exemptions.

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What does the bankruptcy discharge do?

A bankruptcy discharge is an order from the Bankruptcy Court that is granted to the filer in a successful Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. Discharge orders are also entered in Chapter 13 cases, but only if the filer is eligible for a discharge, which most often includes completing the payment plan. The debt that is discharged depends in part on the type of bankruptcy you file.

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What is the presumption of abuse in bankruptcy? 

While every American has the right to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy,there are specific income requirements you must meet to be eligible for a Chapter 7 discharge. If your current monthly income exceeds these limits, then a presumption of abuse exists in your bankruptcy case. This article will explain what the presumption of abuse is, why it exists when it arises, and how it can be overcome. Finally, we take a brief look at what it means to file Chapter 7 even though a presumption of abuse exists in your Chapter 7 bankruptcy case.

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What is the presumption of abuse in bankruptcy? 

While every American has the right to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy,there are specific income requirements you must meet to be eligible for a Chapter 7 discharge. If your current monthly income exceeds these limits, then a presumption of abuse exists in your bankruptcy case. This article will explain what the presumption of abuse is, why it exists when it arises, and how it can be overcome. Finally, we take a brief look at what it means to file Chapter 7 even though a presumption of abuse exists in your Chapter 7 bankruptcy case.

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Which states allow me to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions?

Find out which states allow filers to choose between their state's exemptions and the federal bankruptcy exemptions.

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Debt Consolidation v Bankruptcy – Which is Better?

Almost anyone who is experiencing difficulty paying their bills and considering filing for bankruptcy will come across advertisements or solicitations for something known as “debt consolidation.” This article will discuss the difference between debt consolidation and bankruptcy and give you some help in deciding which is better for you.

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What is post petition debt?

This article will explain what “post-petition” means, what post-petition debt is, the difference between post-petition debt and debts you simply forgot to include in your bankruptcy forms, the effect of your discharge on post-petition debt and whether the timing of the discharge affects the new debt.

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What is a Debt Management Plan?

When you’re struggling with debt, your first step should always be to educate yourself about your options so you can make the best decision for you and your family. This article describes one possible option: a debt management plan, also known as a DMP. A debt management plan involves working with an agency to consolidate your payments. The agency will also work with your creditors to try to get you better terms, so you can pay off your debt more quickly.

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What is debt consolidation?

Debt consolidation is one of many possible options for debt relief. In simple terms, debt consolidation involves combining multiple debts into one obligation. However, there are risks and downsides associated with taking on this type of debt. This article describes how debt consolidation works, how it can be beneficial, and what pitfalls you may face.

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What is credit counseling?

Credit counseling is not a debt relief solution in itself. Instead, it’s a starting point for people who are looking for the right solution.

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What is Debt Settlement?

Debt settlement is a type of debt relief that may allow you to settle your debts for less than the full amount due. Most debt settlement programs work by setting aside money to negotiate with, then making settlement offers one debt at a time. But, like any debt relief solution, debt settlement isn’t for everyone. In this article, you’ll learn more about how debt settlement works, the benefits of making lump sum payments, and the risks you should know about.

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Upsolve is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that started in 2016. Our mission is to help low-income families who cannot afford lawyers file bankruptcy for free, using an online web app. Spun out of Harvard Law School, our team includes lawyers, engineers, and judges. We have world-class funders that include the U.S. government, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and leading foundations. It's one of the greatest civil rights injustices of our time that low-income families can’t access their basic rights when they can’t afford to pay for help. Combining direct services and advocacy, we’re fighting this injustice.

To learn more, read why we started Upsolve in 2016, our reviews from past users, and our press coverage from places like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

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