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Mr. Michael A. Shurtleff

Mr. Michael A. Shurtleff

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  • Bankruptcy
  • Oregon
Claimed Lawyer ProfileQ&A

Michael Shurtleff is one of the most active bankruptcy attorneys in Oregon. He has helped hundreds of families deal with their debt issues. Michael's driving passion is streamlining and modernizing the bankruptcy process so it is as simple as possible for every client.

Practice Area
  • Bankruptcy
  • Free Consultation
  • Credit Cards Accepted
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
Oregon State Bar
ID Number: 095070
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Willamette University College of Law
J.D. (2009) | Debtor/Creditor Law
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Brigham Young University
B.A. (1997) | Political Science
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Legal Answers
7 Questions Answered

Q. Is probate required in Oregon to take ownership of my deceased mother's house before it is foreclosed on?
A: Dear Asker, You probably need a foreclosure/bankruptcy attorney's guidance, to assess the overall situation. The first thing to do is determine how much time you have absent any action on your part. You may have more time than you think or the lender may schedule a foreclosure sale at any moment. You should contact the foreclosing law firm and/or sherriff (if it is a judicial foreclosure) or the foreclosure trustee if it is a nonjudicial foreclosure. If you do in fact potentially qualify to get on title and to be reviewed for a loan modification they may be fairly generous in letting you try to do that before they foreclose. Their probate related cases tend to take longer anyway (in judicial foreclosure cases at least) as they have extra paperwork related to the situation as well. But if you determine you want to proceed you should plow forward with the probate case so that that is ultimately in place since that will need to be done before you can get on title and get a loan modification. You yourself are now entitled to file a chapter 13 that would stop the foreclosure sale (even before you are on title) by virtue of the fact that you now have an interest in the property. If there is no equity in the home you may get little benefit from filing chapter 13, but if there is equity in the home you have essentially one of three options in a chapter 13. 1. show that you can start making the regular monthly payment immediately and that you catch up the current arrearage over a 60 month period. 2. propose a chapter 13 plan that gives you 6 months to get a loan modification while not making any payments on the loan. If you can show the bankruptcy judge that you are proceeding forward with the probate process and that the lender is willing to review you for a loan modification the bankruptcy judges generally allow 6 months to see if that is successful. It generally ends up creating a bit more than 6 months because after the 6 months is up the lender still has to jumpstart and complete the foreclosure. 3. Show that there is equity in the home and propose a chapter 13 plan in which you begin immediately making the ongoing mortgage payment and propse to sell or refinance the home in 24 months from the date the chapter 13 plan is confirmed. All three of the above chapter 13 plan options are very common and acceptable. If you can afford to make the ongoing mortgage payments number 3 actually allows you to do any of the 4 options within 24 months (i.e. get a loan modification, catch up the arrears, sell the home or refinance the home). there may also be options to eliminate the 4 month notice/waiting period on a small estate proceeding by providing affidavits from other interested parties that they do not object to your being put on title, but you should discuss this with a probate attorney.
Q. Will filing bankruptcy take my 81 yr old grandma's house off the auction block for 6/20/19?
A: Yes. Call a BK attorney in the morning
Q. I am filing for bankruptcy. If my vehicle is my only source of income, can it be exempt.
A: In Oregon a debtor can use federal exemptions. You have a certain amount of vehicle exemption and then additional wildcard exemption. If you are not using a homestead exemption (because you rent your residence) then you likely have plenty to cover $12K of equity in a car. You can use the 4K vehicle exemption and then approx 12K of wildcard on top of that. this of course assumes that you are not using vehicle or wildcard exemptions elsewhere. Exemption planning may be simple or may be dangerous. this is one of the reasons people use bankruptcy attorneys. It would be nice if it was like turbotax and you could put your filing together and then have a professional review it like they do for taxes, but for now, the system doesn't allow us to do "attorney reviewed" bankruptcies. You either get full representation or you get nothing.
Q. My husband is on disability. We are behind on property Taxes. The county is starting foreclosure. How can we stop this?
A: Dear asker, As an attorney and member of the Oregon state bar who you have not hired I need to make you aware that the below information is the general thoughts I have on the topic without having met with your or reviewed any documents, etc. It is not specific advice and I am not your attorney and you are not entitled to rely on my advice, blame me if your situation doesn't work out or rely on my malpractice insurance to protect you. _____________________________________________ you have a tough situation, but it could be made far worse if you end up dealing with any unscrupulous investors. (they are all unscrupulous). Don't make any agreements with investors without calling an attorney no matter how nice they are or how much you believe you understand the documents and situation. Definitely do not transfer your interest in the home to anyone else in exchange for money to keep the property out of foreclosure without first talking to an attorney. If you do not pay and the foreclosure process starts you have two years to "redeem" the property out of foreclosure. At that point you may have to pay the entire property tax arrears to get it out of foreclosure. I haven't reviewed the statute in a while but I think that is likely. Therefore it may be to your advantage to figure out how to pay the 1 year and keep paying a year each time to keep it out of foreclosure instead of getting into a situation where you have to pay it all off. A chapter 13 would allow you to pay off the 13K over 5 years, but that doesn't sound any more doable than paying 4K now. Please understand that the only way an investor will ultimately be paid is by liquidating your home. Probably the best resolution for you would be to find a friend or family member you trust and have them loan you the money to pay the property taxes and then give them a promissory note and trust deed that makes their loan secured by your property. Hopefully they would give you a lower interest rate than an investor. They would get paid whenever your property was sold or refinanced. There may be scenarios where an investor could get you out of foreclosure and lease the property back to you for a long term, but they are going to be seeing this as an opportunity to pick up your home for the privilege of letting you live in it. But....upon reflection this could be similar to a reverse mortgage scenario. If your husband is old enough to qualify for a reverse mortgage you could certainly look into that. If not, a possible scenario could be that an investor loans you 15K, at 17% interest and then, rather than making payments to the investor they become entitled to 15K of the equity in your home and then they are entitled to an interest payment each month on the 15K principal. Their loan is secured by your home but is only payable upon you and your husband passing or the sale or refinance of the home. If the interest charges ultimately ate up all the equity in your home then you would have to start making payments to the lender or pay off the 15K principle or the home would be sold to pay the investor. At any time you paid off the 15K principle you would be out of the loan. This is a typical type of "hard money" style loan except normally the debtor is making an interest-only payment for 5 years and then paying off the principal once the 5 year term is up (or getting foreclosed by the lender because they can't pay off the original loan amount). Here you would not be making payment, but, rather the payments would be taken out of the equity in the house with payment being deferred until the house is sold or refinanced. I don't know if any investor would be interested in something like that. I would start by calling Janel Page with Clockwork properties. She is one of the few investors I actually trust. Before you do that I would call Dina Schmidt with Umpqua bank and Mandi Stephens with Willamette Valley Bank. Tell them I sent you.
Q. After chapter 7 could a lien be put on my house when I sell or refinance?
A: Dear Asker, I am broadening your question just to be on the safe side. 1) If nobody had a judgment lien against your house at the time you filed a bankruptcy then all of the debts that could have gone to judgment are discharged through the bankruptcy and nobody can get a lien related to those debts after your bankruptcy discharge is received. 2) if somebody had a judgment against you at the time you filed chapter 7 that created a lien on your house, the debt is discharged but the lien would remain against (attached) to your home and you would have to attempt to strip the lien if it was eating into your homestead exemption. If there was plenty of equity in your home to cover your exemption and the judgment debt then that judgment lien would end up being paid off in a sale or refinance. That judgment lien will also continue to grow at the contract rate of interest or 9% (whatever is listed in the judgment document). So...if there are any judgment liens attached to the property they should potentially be dealt with as soon as possible to minimize the amount of your equity they eat up 3) If you got a house after filing chapter 7 then no judgments that existed at the time you filed bankruptcy would attach to the property that you acquired after filing bankruptcy.
Q. Divorce paperwork states I am not responsible for mortgage with ex, WF will not remove me. Can I include it in BK?
A: Dear Asker, While the divorce judgment has no power to alter your obligations to Wells Fargo, it does establish the obligations between you and your ex-spouse. If you file bankruptcy on the mortgage Wells Fargo will not be able to sue you or garnish your wages, but they will be able to foreclose and take the house. Hopefully the ex spouse is in the house and you are not and therefore you either don't care whether it is foreclosed or you assume he/she will maintain the payments by themselves in order to keep the house as the divorce judgment directs. On the other hand, if the divorce judgment made you responsible for a debt and you went out and filed bankruptcy on it, then the divorce judgment trumps the bankruptcy. This means that, although you got rid of your obligation to the creditor by filing bankruptcy, you would not get rid of your obligation to your ex spouse and, in spite of the bankruptcy, they would potentially be able to go to court and enforce your obligation to pay the debt or pay them back for any debts they paid that were your obligation under the divorce judgment.
Q. Can i stop paying rent if i rent a forclosed home that went to auction and was repossed by the bank.
A: First it is important to be quite sure that the house was actually auctioned. Receiving a notice of sheriff sale posted on the property with a date for the sale does not mean the sale actually happened. sales are often postponed or thhe owner files chapter 13 and brings the property out of foreclosure. the sheriff if you have not already, or look online and verify that the sale actually occured. Once the house is actually auctioned the owner is no longer entitled to rent. Although the lender could collect rent, if it is any normal lender they are not set up for being landlords and collecting rent so they will just send a realtor by to talk to you about when you can get out and they will generally offer you cash for keys if you clean the place up and get out within a certain amount of time. They generally will not accept rent and allow you to stay longer. Paying them will generally not affect the timeline in which they will try to get the property vacated. Most lenders aren't terribly aggressive, but I wouldn't expect more than 90-120 days at the most before they start looking at eviction if you don't accept the cash for keys and leave voluntarily.
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