We recently wrote a post describing a MERS defeat in Oregon Bankruptcy Court, and MERS (an acronym for Mortgage Electronic Services, Inc., an electronic registry) is in the news once again. This has not only been a hot topic in Oregon, but people around the nation have been attacking MERS as foreclosures mount and banks turn defaulting homeowners out into the streets. (more…)
Many states have their own personal income tax. Generally these states also have laws that require a taxpayer to submit a copy of the IRS audit report if the federal liability is adjusted due to a reallocation of income or deductions on a previously filed return. The failure to do so may cause bankruptcy discharge problems . Changes to federal law contained in the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 may render any undisclosed increase in liability a non-dischargeable debt for bankruptcy purposes. (more…)
Debtors often ask us what will happen to their home if they file for bankruptcy protection. Fortunately, federal bankruptcy law and most states provide for what is often called a “homestead exemption”. A homestead exemption acts as a shield against the claims of certain creditors. It does this by protecting up to a specific dollar amount in real property. Homestead exemptions are particularly important for debtors with equity in their home. On the other hand, where a consensual lien on real property, such as a mortgage, exceeds the home’s value, the homestead exemption does not apply since there is usually no equity in the home to protect.
There are certain requirements for the homestead exemption to apply. For instance, the real property typically must be kept as the debtor’s residence. And depending on the state where the debtor resides, the debtor may elect to apply the federal homestead exemption over their state’s homestead exemption. As of April 2010, the federal homestead exemption was $21,625. Federal exemptions are not generally available to Oregon residents. However, Oregon has protected much more home equity for its residents. (more…)