Written by the Upsolve Team.
Updated September 29, 2020
The whole purpose behind bankruptcy is to give honest debtors a fresh start. In order to get that fresh start, the bankruptcy process must be successfully completed, and the forms submitted to the Court need to show that bankruptcy relief is the correct remedy for the person seeking to discharge, or eliminate, their crippling debt. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Medford is a valuable tool for eliminating credit card, medical, or personal loan debts and getting that fresh start.
For those residents filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Medford, they will actually file their documents with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Eugene, which serves Jackson County residents. Chapter 7 is often referred to as a straight bankruptcy. From beginning to end, filing bankruptcy in Medford only takes a few months in the vast majority of cases, with the discharge being entered as quickly as 90 days after filing. But, it’s not for everyone. Some folks have mortgages that are delinquent that they can catch up on but only if given more time. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy would be a better fit for those folks, because it can give them more time. There are major differences between 7 and 13 with pros and cons for each. Many people dealing with substantial tax debt choose Chapter 13 because it allows them to pay taxes over time without incurring additional penalties. There are local legal aid services such as Jackson County Center for NonProfit Legal Services, available to residents of Jackson County. Upsolve wants you to know what free legal aid is available to you. If you are more comfortable preparing all documents for filing bankruptcy in the privacy of your home, Upsolve is here to help you with your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Medford, if you are a good fit for our program. Many folks like you find the convenience of doing everything from home through Upsolve to be much more comfortable for them.
Medford Bankruptcy Lawyers - Estimated Cost
Some folks prefer to have an attorney with them when they go to Court. The cost of a bankruptcy lawyer can vary quite a bit. The Medford bankruptcy lawyer cost is worth paying if you need to file a Chapter 13 case or if you have complex issues to deal with. The cost of a lawyer is something you need to know before retaining anyone. Some attorneys will offer you a free consultation, and that can be quite good. It enables you to see what issues a local attorney finds important. It also gives you an idea as to whether the value you receive is worth hiring the attorney. Lawyers who file a lot of Medford bankruptcy cases are generally well versed in what is required by the Court. Be sure to get all anticipated fees explained in detail if you go for a free consultation.
How to File Bankruptcy in Medford, Oregon for Free
In this guide, Upsolve provides instructions on how to file bankruptcy in Medford. The process is not complicated, but it’s very important that you follow each step, one after the other. Take them in order and remember to take your time, and you’ll ensure the success of your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Medford.
Collect Your Medford Bankruptcy Documents
As part of preparing for your Oregon bankruptcy, you should make sure you have the last two years of tax returns. If you filed them online, you should be able to print off copies. If you had a tax preparer, such as H & R Block, handle your taxes, you should be able to get a copy from them. If you don’t have a copy, and you did not use a tax preparer, you may have to get a copy of a tax return transcript. You can do that over the phone, or online on the IRS website. You should also gather six months of bank statements for any account you are allowed to sign on, whether it’s open or was recently closed. The six months runs from the date of filing to the six months before filing. You will also need all paycheck stubs you received in the six months before filing your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Medford. Hopefully your employer can provide you with copies if you no longer have them. If your employer uses a payroll service, like ADP, they should be able to help. These documents will be needed as you move forward with filing bankruptcy in Medford.
Take Credit Counseling
There are two classes you must take as part of the Oregon bankruptcy process. You can take them over the phone or online. If you prefer to take the course in person, you can also go to a local approved provider, Consumer Credit Counseling Services. They are located at 820 Crater Lake Ave #202 in Medford. Many folks prefer the convenience of doing everything online and on their own schedule. If that is your preference as well, you have numerous approved providers available to you. This first course must be completed in the 6 months before you file your Medford bankruptcy. You will receive a certificate of completion to take to the Court when you file your other Oregon bankruptcy case.
Complete the Bankruptcy Forms
The Medford bankruptcy forms include your Petition, Schedules A-J, and various statements. It’ll be helpful to you to have your bank statements to assist with preparing Schedules I and J, which show your income and your expenses. Make sure you list all of your expenses, and don’t underestimate what how much they really are. You’ll also have to list all of your personal possessions and place a value on them. That value is not what you paid for them or what the item is worth to you, but what you could get for the item in a yard sale or at an auction. Valuation is very important to you because you are allowed to keep a certain amount of property after filing bankruptcy in Medford, so it’s important to value your property as accurately as possible. Be thorough and realistic but don’t over- or underestimate value. Remember, garage sale prices!
Get Your Filing Fee
The filing fee is supposed to cover the cost to the Clerk of Court and the Trustee for handling your Oregon bankruptcy. The Clerk’s office handles the filing of your case, as well as the mailing of notices to creditors and other interested parties. It’s the same across the country at $335 for a Chapter 7 case. It’s normally paid in full when you file your case. If your income level is less than 150% of the federal poverty guidelines, the Court may allow the fee to be waived. Sometimes the Court will not waive it but will allow it to be paid in installments. We recommend that, if you can’t pay it in full, take at least $115 (or about a third of the total fee) with you when you go to file the case. The most important benefit of paying in full at the time you’re filing bankruptcy in Medford, is that it helps you avoid having to worry about getting the case thrown out or being denied a discharge, which can happen if you forget to make the installment payments on time. Your Medford bankruptcy will change your life going forward. If you can pay the fee in full at the time you first file your case, we urge you to do so.
Print Your Bankruptcy Forms
Your Oregon bankruptcy requires one copy of the Petition, Schedules, and Statements be submitted to the Court. However, you would be wise to print off at least one extra copy for your own records. If you have a printer, you can just print them off at home. If you have to get them printed somewhere else, you might try your local public library. You can also print a copy of your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Medford at a local office supply store, but you shouldn’t print them double-sided even if that is cheaper. Never print any documents you plan on submitting to the Oregon Bankruptcy Court on both sides of the paper. If you do, the Clerk will not accept them.
Go to Court to File Your Forms
Because you’re in Jackson County, you will file your Oregon bankruptcy in Eugene. You can mail the documents to the Court along with your filing fee and it’s recommended that you enclose a stamped and addressed return envelope for the clerk to mail your copy back to you after stamping it with the details of your Medford bankruptcy filing. The problem with mailing in the documents for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Medford that comes up most often, is that not everything is signed everything properly. In that case, you may get everything back in the mail. It's always safer to take the forms in yourself, along with your fee, and your certificate of completion for the credit counseling class. When you arrive at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, you will need to go through a metal detector. It’s there for your protection as well as for everyone else’s safety. Take your extra copy, so you can have it date and time stamped. Make sure you take your picture ID, and it never hurts to have your social security card in case the Clerk wants to verify the number.
Mail Documents to Your Trustee
There is a group of people who are called Trustees. One of them is randomly chosen to oversee your case as it moves through the bankruptcy process. The Trustee will be in contact with you as to what documents they want to see from you in addition to your Medford bankruptcy forms. It’s important to get them to the Trustee in a timely manner, so don’t put it off. The Trustee will review your bankruptcy forms as well as your tax returns, pay stubs, and bank statements. If you have a car that is paid off, the Trustee may want a copy of the title as well. Some Trustees will want the documents mailed, and some may want them sent by email. Either way, keep an eye out for correspondence from your Trustee and make sure to follow their instructions carefully to keep your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Medford on track.
Take Bankruptcy Course 2
As you did with your first class, you will want to use an approved debtor education provider. If you liked the first provider, you might want to use them again as long as they are on the approved list. Filing bankruptcy in Medford will provide you significant relief if you do what you have to do, on time. That’s why it’s always a good idea to get the second course out of the way as soon as possible after filing bankruptcy in Medford. This course is intended to give you the tools you need to take advantage of your fresh start and rebuild your financial situation. Your Oregon bankruptcy requires the second course as you can’t get a discharge if you fail to take it. The discharge is what you are filing bankruptcy for; it’s the Order that says you’re excused from paying your dischargeable debts, so this is not one of the items you will want to skip.
Attend Your 341 Meeting
Filing bankruptcy in Medford will require you to attend a 341 meeting, sometimes called a meeting of creditors. Creditors are allowed to attend this and ask you questions under oath, but they don’t appear in the majority of Oregon bankruptcy cases. The Trustee will handle the 341 meeting and will swear you in on the record. You will need to take your picture ID, and your proof of social security. That can be your social security card, or a W-2, or even a form 1099. The social security number in your Oregon bankruptcy must be verified with an official source, not a document you have prepared. Your tax return will not work because you, or someone at your instruction, prepared it. Similarly, your passport won’t work because it doesn’t actually show your social security number. Most 341 hearings take about 5 to 10 minutes. You might want to get there a little early so you can see some other hearings as it may give you some sense of peace about what to expect during your hearing.
Dealing with Your Car
When you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Medford, you have some options when it comes to a car that you still owe money on. You can reaffirm the debt, which means sign an agreement to continue paying as originally contracted. If you reaffirm and later default, the creditor can repossess the vehicle and sue you for the balance. You may also choose to redeem the vehicle. If you owe a lot more than it’s worth, redeeming the car may lower the balance due by a large amount. The drawback in an Oregon bankruptcy may be a high interest rate that offsets any savings you may have. Again, if you default on the loan, the car can be repossessed. If you owe more on the car than it’s worth, you might consider surrendering it instead. Remember, sometimes it’s better to take a step back so that you can take a bigger leap further down the road.
Oregon Bankruptcy Means Test, Bankruptcy Forms, and Exemptions for Medford
Oregon Means Test
If your income is greater than the median income for the state of Oregon, you may not qualify to file for Chapter 7 relief. At the least, you will have to look beyond the basic income limits portion of the Oregon bankruptcy Means Test to see if you are able to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Medford.
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
Oregon bankruptcy forms include Schedules A-J. A/B covers your property, both real property and personal property, all of which is considered an asset you own. Form C lets the Court and Trustee know what you are claiming as exempt property that is protected from your creditors. Schedule D lists all of your secured creditors, like your car loan or home mortgage. It’s important to be familiar with the Oregon bankruptcy forms and take advantage of all resources and available instructions. The success of your Medford bankruptcy is dependent on correctly filling out these forms.
Filing bankruptcy in Medford allows you to use the Oregon bankruptcy exemptions and certain federal nonbankruptcy exemptions to protect your property. The federal nonbankruptcy exemptions are very limited. If people filing bankruptcy in Oregon have lived there for less than two years, they may be allowed to choose the federal bankruptcy exemptions in place of the Oregon bankruptcy exemptions.