Written by the Upsolve Team.
Updated September 29, 2020
Bankruptcy is designed to give an honest but unfortunate debtor a fresh start. Folks like you, who are trying to make things work but just can’t seem to get there. You face large financial hurdles every day, and you need a chance to move forward. Medical bills, loss of a job, playing catch up on a mortgage, owing taxes you can’t pay, or just making bad decisions has you searching for a way to start over. Bankruptcy may well be your answer. Folks in similar situations have found that filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Bend, Oregon has been exactly the right remedy for what ailed them. If you are too far behind on your mortgage to catch up quickly, or if you owe taxes and the penalties and interest is piling up, perhaps Chapter 13 is a better choice. It depends on what you are dealing with and what your goals are. Many folks find they need up to 60 months to catch up their mortgage up and a Chapter 13 is a better fit for them. If you want to check out the Legal Aid organizations in your area, you can do so. It might be especially good if you are hoping to file a Chapter 13 to save your home but can’t afford a lawyer. Upsolve is here to provide free assistance in filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Bend, provided your situation is a good fit for our service. We are here to help.
The great running back Jamal Lewis had to file bankruptcy for millions of dollars in debt due to failed business ventures. The same protection he found in the Bankruptcy Courts is available to you today. Since Bend is located in Deschutes County, your Bend bankruptcy case will be filed in Portland, Oregon. You can file by mail if you prefer, but it is often better to go in person to get your case filed. It’s always good to be familiar with the place you will have to return to for your day in Court.
Bend Bankruptcy Lawyers - Estimated Cost
In the event you need to hire a lawyer in Bend, it’ll be helpful to know the cost of a bankruptcy lawyer. People in your situation have to consider whether the cost of a Bend bankruptcy lawyer is a better choice than hiring an attorney in Portland. The Bend lawyer - who will be local for you - will either have to travel to Portland, which is 175 miles away, or hire a Portland attorney to cover your 341 meeting and any hearings. The round trip travel time is roughly 6 hours, and the Bend attorney will have to be paid for that time. Seeking a free consultation in Bend would be helpful to find out how the lawyer plans on handling that issue. The range on attorney fees for Bend can vary quite a bit depending on how complicated your situation is. If a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Bend is a good fit for you, Upsolve is here to help for free so long as your situation fits our program. If your situation is complicated enough that you would benefit from hiring a lawyer, we will tell you. We are here to serve.
How to File Bankruptcy in Bend, Oregon for Free
Filing bankruptcy in Bend is like following the yellow brick road. One step at a time, in order, and you will arrive at your chosen destination.
Collect Your Bend Bankruptcy Documents
You will need to put together your last two years of tax returns. You can get those returns by simply printing them again, assuming you filed your own returns. If you used a tax preparer (such as H&R Block) you should be able to get copies from them. A final place you can go is to the IRS. You can fill out a request at a local office or go online to the Internal Revenue Service’s website. On that site, all you need to do is click on the heading for transcripts. You will be able to order the tax return transcripts directly on that site. Your Oregon bankruptcy will also require you to provide pay stubs. We recommend having six months of pay stubs for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Bend. If you don’t have them, and most folks don’t keep them that long, your employer should be able to provide them. If your employer uses a payroll service, you should give them a call. You will also be required to provide bank statements for any account you are a signer on, even if it is closed.
Take Credit Counseling
When filing bankruptcy in Bend, you will be taking two separate classes. This first one is called Credit Counseling, and it must be taken before you can file your Oregon bankruptcy case. Providers of the classes must be approved by the United States Trustee, which has oversight responsibility of all Oregon bankruptcy cases. Approved Credit Counseling providers will have a class that can be done online, or on the phone. The class should take about an hour to complete and the provider will send you a certificate of completion once done. You will file the certificate with your other documents at the office of the Clerk, U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The class will concentrate on issues that lead most folks to file bankruptcy. It is designed to show you what options you have to obtain debt relief, including, but not limited to filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Bend.
Complete the Bankruptcy Forms
The Bend bankruptcy forms will concentrate on presenting a clear picture of who you are, what you own, who you owe, and whether you have the ability to pay your debts. It will be helpful to you to list your possessions and place a value on them before starting to fill out the forms. The value is not what you paid for each item, but what they are actually worth in a garage sale, or an auction. Having a complete list of your debts is required, along with the names and addresses of any collection agencies that may be handling the debt for the bank. Schedule I and J will deal with your income and your expenses. Many folks in a similar situation tend to not list all of their expenses, which makes it look like they actually have money to pay their debts. Look at your bank statements, and if you make payments in cash, don’t forget to take that into account when calculating your monthly expenses for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Bend.
Get Your Filing Fee
When you file an Oregon bankruptcy, you will be required to pay a filing fee. The Chapter 7 filing fee is $335. It does not change with the size of your family and is the same whether you are filing with your spouse or by yourself. If your income is below 150% of the federal poverty guidelines , the Court may decide to waive your filing fee if you apply for a waiver. If it can’t be waived, the Court might allow you to pay the fee by monthly installments. If you pay installments, you must be timely with each payment, or you can risk a dismissal of your case. That would make you start all over. If you can pay in one payment, you should. Then, you will not be in danger of forgetting a payment and accidentally having your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Bend tossed out of Court, without a refund for the amount you already paid.
Print Your Bankruptcy Forms
If you have a printer at home, you can easily print all of your bankruptcy forms from home; just make sure you have enough paper before you get started. If you don’t have access to a printer at home or at work, you may be able to get your Bend bankruptcy forms printed at a local public library. If that is not convenient, you can go to an office supply store and have the forms printed there. You will need to file one copy with the Court, and you will want at least one more copy for your own records. Whether you print at home or at the other locations, make sure you print all documents on one side only. Your Oregon bankruptcy petition, schedules, and statements will be rejected if you print on both sides of the paper.
Go to Court to File Your Forms
Your forms will have to be filed with the clerk’s office at the courthouse in in Portland. You can choose to mail them in if you prefer but make sure to include your certificate of completion for the credit counseling course and a money order or cashier’s check for the filing fee. The problem with mailing the documents for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Bend arises if you miss a required signature. Should that happen, the Clerk may simply return the forms by mail, or accept them and give you a short time to file a properly signed and dated form. If you submit the documents in person, you can fix the problem right then and there. The safest course is to file documents for your Oregon bankruptcy case in person. We know it is a 135 mile drive to do that, but if you take them in yourself, you will know they are filed. Make sure the Clerk stamps your copy with the date and time for your records. You will need to take that extra set of forms with you to get that; the Court will not make copies for you. If you go yourself, you will pass through security. Everyone has to do this, and it is done for your protection as well as everyone else who has business in the Oregon Bankruptcy Court.
Mail Documents to Your Trustee
There is a group of people who serve as Chapter 7 bankruptcy Trustees. Their job is to make sure any questions about your documents are answered. They also find out whether you have any assets (property) that can be sold in order to pay money to your creditors. You will receive the Trustee’s name and contact information from the Court shortly after filing your Oregon bankruptcy case. You will probably also receive a letter from the Trustee overseeing your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Bend. The Trustee will request certain documents be mailed, faxed, or emailed to their office. This list will likely include your tax returns, bank statements, and pay stubs. It could also include a copy of the title of any car that is paid for. Make certain you immediately open any mail from the Court or from the Trustee. You will need to respond to the Trustee quickly.
Take Bankruptcy Course 2
The 2nd bankruptcy course is called Debtor Education. Just like the first course you took, the Debtor Education provider must be on the approved list. This course does not center as much on how you happened to end up in bankruptcy, or what your debt relief options are (after all, you’ve made that choice by now). It’s more concerned that your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Bend is a learning experience. It will concentrate on budgets. It will emphasize living within your means. You have a fresh start coming, and this course wants to help in making sure you have the information you need to be successful. It will take longer than the 1st course, and you should plan on two to three hours. We recommend to people in a similar situation take the course as soon as possible after you file your case. Otherwise, you could forget, which could end up being a real problem, and complicate getting your discharge. The discharge is what you are asking for in your Oregon bankruptcy case. It tells the world you are free from all dischargeable debts.
Attend Your 341 Meeting
The 341 meeting is often referred to as the creditors’ meeting. It is required under section 341 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The judge who is in charge of your case does not appear at this meeting. Creditors have the right to appear and ask you questions but in most cases they don’t. Especially in a simple Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Bend. If a creditor wants to ask questions, don’t be concerned. Just answer truthfully for the record, and you should be fine. As long as you have fully disclosed all requested information in your Bend bankruptcy documents, there is nothing to be concerned with.
Dealing with Your Car
You can choose to reaffirm your car loan if you have one. A reaffirmation agreement is an agreement that says you will continue to pay the car payments as you originally contracted. The upside is you keep the car. The downside is that the car can be taken (repossessed) if you fall behind on your payments, and you’ll still be responsible to pay the loan anyway. In your Oregon bankruptcy, you can also choose to redeem the car. To redeem means to buy the car for what it’s worth and discharging the rest of the loan balance. Most folks don’t have that kind of money available right after filing bankruptcy in Bend and while there are redemption lenders who specialize in situations like this, they often charge high interest rates. A lot of folks in a similar situation decide to surrender the car which basically means giving the car back. The debt goes away as part of your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Bend. You can then buy an inexpensive car and save your money to buy what you really would like to have somewhere down the road. Your Bend bankruptcy gives you an opportunity to start fresh without the struggle of a huge car payment.
Oregon Bankruptcy Means Test, Bankruptcy Forms, and Exemptions for Bend
Oregon Means Test
Folks with income below the median household income in Oregon qualify to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Bend. If their income is above the limit there is a presumption of abuse that can be overcome if you can show, as part of the Oregon bankruptcy Means Test, that you don’t have enough money to pay your debts after paying for your living expenses.
Median Income Levels for Oregon
Oregon Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2020
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Poverty Levels for Oregon
Oregon Fee Waiver Eligibility for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2020
Eligible for fee waiver when under 150% the poverty level.
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Oregon Bankruptcy forms
The bankruptcy Petition, Schedules, and Statements should paint a picture of your financial situation. The Court and the Trustee will look at the Oregon bankruptcy forms. Hopefully, because you have been totally honest about your income, expenses, and property, the Bend bankruptcy will close shortly after the 341 meeting without issue. Upsolve will provide the correct forms for your Chapter 7 case, and do so for free.
Bankruptcy exemptions are different in every state. The Oregon bankruptcy exemptions are the laws that determine what property someone filing bankruptcy in Bend can keep. The Bankruptcy Code also has a set of federal bankruptcy exemptions; however, you are unable to use them if you’ve lived in the Beaver State for more than 2 years.