How Bankruptcy Can Help You Build a Better Financial Future

How Bankruptcy Can Help You Build a Better Financial Future in the Vancouver-Portland Metro area | OlsenDaines

Bankruptcy has long been viewed as the ultimate financial failure, and many people believe that it’s a one-way ticket to a bleak financial future. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Bankruptcy provides a fresh start, a chance to eliminate debt, and even an opportunity to rebuild your finances. 

In this blog post, we’ll share the inspiring story of Chris, a client who was able to buy a commercial property just a few years after filing for bankruptcy. We hope his story will help you understand how bankruptcy can be a stepping stone towards a brighter financial future.

Chris’s Bankruptcy Story

They were in dire straits when Chris and his wife first came into our office. They were behind on their mortgage payments and lived off credit cards. They believed that filing for bankruptcy would mean the end of their financial life, but we quickly dispelled that myth. We helped them file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which allowed them to eliminate their second mortgage, gave them time to catch up on their first mortgage, and wiped away their general debt. This process allowed them to restructure their finances and start fresh.

The Chapter 13 bankruptcy process requires a lot of documentation, but it’s ultimately worth it. Once the process was completed, Chris could start rebuilding his finances. A few years after their bankruptcy was finalized, Chris contacted us with some exciting news: he wanted to buy a commercial building. This was a surprisingly short time frame for someone who had filed for bankruptcy, but it was a testament to how the process had given Chris a fresh start.

Bankruptcy Is a Fresh Start

Chris needed copies of all the documents from our firm to purchase the property, and that’s when he reached out to us. Now, every week when we drive past that building, we feel great satisfaction knowing that we helped Chris get his financial house in order and buy an investment property. It proves bankruptcy doesn’t have to be a one-way ticket to financial doom.

Bankruptcy can be daunting, and it’s not a decision that should be made lightly. However, if you’re struggling with debt, it’s important to remember that it can be a tool to help you rebuild your finances. Filing for bankruptcy can be the first step towards a better financial future. It allows you to eliminate your debts, restructure your finances, and start anew. Chris’s story proves bankruptcy doesn’t mean the end of your financial life – it can be the beginning of a brighter future.

Contact Experienced Bankruptcy Attorneys for Help

If you’re interested in filing for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, contact OlsenDaines. We have offices located throughout Oregon and Washington with experienced bankruptcy attorneys ready and willing to help you relieve your debt. To schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with one of our attorneys, simply call us or fill out our online form!

Protecting Your Retirement Accounts in Bankruptcy

Protecting Your Retirement Accounts in Bankruptcy in the Vancouver-Portland Metro area | OlsenDaines

Bankruptcy is often associated with losing everything, including your hard-earned retirement savings. But contrary to popular belief, filing for bankruptcy doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to surrender all your retirement accounts. There are ways of protecting your retirement accounts from creditors during bankruptcy. In this blog post, we’ll discuss different types of retirement accounts, what counts as a qualified account, and how you can safeguard your retirement savings.

The Two Types of Retirement Accounts

When it comes to retirement accounts, there are two types: qualified and non-qualified. Non-qualified accounts are regular investment accounts that you use to save for retirement. These accounts are not protected during bankruptcy, so creditors may seize your investments if you file for bankruptcy. On the other hand, qualified accounts are tax-advantaged retirement accounts that the IRS recognizes and approves. These accounts are usually exempt from bankruptcy proceedings, meaning your creditors can’t touch them.

What You Need to Know About Qualified Accounts

The most common types of qualified accounts are 401(k)s and IRAs. A 401(k) is a retirement savings account offered by an employer, while an IRA is an individual retirement account. These accounts are tax-deferred, meaning you won’t have to pay taxes until you withdraw the money in retirement. If you file for bankruptcy, you can protect your 401(k) and IRA from creditors as long as you follow specific rules and regulations.

One of the most important things you need to do to protect your retirement accounts in bankruptcy is to provide accurate and complete information about your retirement plans. Your bankruptcy attorney will review your account statements and determine whether they qualify as protected retirement accounts. If you have a mix of qualified and non-qualified retirement accounts, your attorney may advise you to transfer your assets to your qualified accounts to shield them from creditors.

How Bankruptcy Exemptions Can Protect Your Assets

Another way of protecting your retirement savings during bankruptcy is to use exemptions. In some cases, state or federal laws may allow you to exempt certain assets from bankruptcy proceedings, including retirement accounts. However, the specific amount of exemption you can claim will depend on the type of retirement account, its balance, and the laws of your state.

It’s also worth noting that filing for bankruptcy may impact your retirement plans. For instance, if you have a 401(k) loan when you file for bankruptcy, you may be required to repay the loan in full or risk losing your 401(k) savings. Similarly, if you have already started receiving retirement benefits, such as Social Security or pension payments, you may not be able to discharge them in bankruptcy.

Your Attorney Can Help Protect Your Accounts

Recently, I had a conversation with a client who had two different types of accounts – a nonqualified account and an IRA, which is a qualified account. After filing for bankruptcy, our next step was to meet with the trustee to verify the types of accounts the client had. Unfortunately, there was some confusion, and the trustee initially believed that both accounts were non-qualified. This could’ve resulted in the client surrendering some of her accounts. Fortunately, we had the proper documentation in place, and we could demonstrate that the money in her IRA was totally protected and exempt from any creditors. For the client, it was a relief to know that her assets were protected and that we had done the work beforehand to ensure that her documentation was in order.

Filing for bankruptcy can be a stressful and daunting experience, especially when you need clarification on what will happen to your retirement savings. However, with the right legal guidance and strategies, you can protect your retirement accounts during bankruptcy and ensure that you have a secure financial future. Remember, if you’re considering filing for bankruptcy, it’s crucial to work with an experienced bankruptcy attorney who understands the intricacies of bankruptcy law and can help you make informed decisions. Don’t let bankruptcy erode your retirement plans – take steps to safeguard your future today!

Contact OlsenDaines for Bankruptcy Help Today

From our free bankruptcy consultations to our complimentary credit rebuilding program, bankruptcy attorneys at OlsenDaines are here to help you with every step of the bankruptcy process. We are the largest and most experienced consumer bankruptcy law firm in the Pacific NW. We are able to address your financial difficulties with the expertise and careful planning you are seeking. Contact us today!

How Chapter Seven Bankruptcy Can Provide Financial Relief During Medical Crisis

How Chapter Seven Bankruptcy Can Provide Financial Relief During Medical Crisis in the Vancouver-Portland Metro area | OlsenDaines

When dealing with a medical crisis, the last thing you want to worry about is the financial burden that comes with it. Unfortunately, medical bills can stack up quickly, and it is not uncommon for individuals to find themselves drowning in debt. This was the case for my client Susie. She felt overwhelmed, and her creditors were hounding her relentlessly, leading her to a dark place where she even attempted suicide. In this blog post, I will share how Susie found hope and relief through Chapter Seven bankruptcy and how it could help you, too.

What Is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Chapter Seven bankruptcy is a legal process designed to help individuals and businesses eliminate unsecured debts, such as medical bills, credit card debt, and utility bills. This type of bankruptcy allows filers to discharge their debts, leaving them with a clean slate. This process may seem daunting, but an experienced bankruptcy attorney can guide you through it and ensure that your assets are protected.

For Susie, Chapter Seven bankruptcy was the answer to her prayers. She had accumulated medical bills that were putting a lot of pressure on her, and her creditors’ relentless calls only worsened her depression. As soon as we filed her case, the harassing phone calls stopped, and she felt a weight lifted off her shoulders. With her debts discharged, she could focus on her mental and physical health and rebuild her life.

Medical Debt in Bankruptcy

It is crucial to note that not all medical debt will qualify for discharge in Chapter Seven bankruptcy. However, it is still worth discussing your options with a bankruptcy attorney because alternative solutions are available, such as Chapter 13 bankruptcy or debt settlement. An experienced attorney will assess your situation and determine the best course of action based on your circumstances.

Bankruptcy Provides a Fresh Start

It is understandable if you feel hesitant or embarrassed to file for bankruptcy. The truth is that bankruptcy was designed to provide a fresh start to individuals or businesses struggling financially. It is not something to be ashamed of, and you are not alone. Many people have turned to bankruptcy to get a second chance. Susie herself admitted that she felt relieved and grateful for the help she received, and it even saved her life.

Medical crises can be overwhelming, and the financial burden that comes with them only adds to the stress. The good news is there are solutions to help you get back on track. Chapter Seven bankruptcy is just one of the options available that can eliminate your debts and give you a fresh start. If you are in a situation like Susie’s, help is available, and it doesn’t cost anything to call and discuss your options. Don’t suffer in silence. Take that first step towards finding financial freedom.

Contact Experienced Bankruptcy Attorneys for the Help You Need

The bankruptcy attorneys at OlsenDaines are here to help you with every step of the bankruptcy process. We are the largest and most experienced consumer bankruptcy law firm in the Pacific NW, with offices throughout Oregon and Washington. We can address your financial difficulties with the expertise and careful planning you are seeking. Contact us to schedule your free case evaluation today!

How Bankruptcy Can Affect Your Family Business

How Bankruptcy Can Affect Your Family Business in the Vancouver-Portland Metro area | OlsenDaines

Are you considering bankruptcy but wondering how it might affect your family business? If so, you’re not alone. Many small business owners find themselves in a position where they need to file for bankruptcy but are worried about the impact it will have on their company. In this blog post, we’ll explore how filing for bankruptcy can affect your family business and provide helpful information to ease your worries.

Membership or Shares in the Family Business

When you file for bankruptcy, the first thing that is considered is your assets. It’s important to note that your LLC or corporation must only file for bankruptcy if it’s also experiencing financial difficulties. However, the value of your membership or shares in the corporation will be considered. The bankruptcy law protects your assets, so there are limits to what can be taken or seized by creditors. This is where your membership or shares in the family business come into play.

Value of Your Membership or Shares

If the membership or shares do not have enough value to a trustee, they will not be at risk of bankruptcy. That said, it’s important to have a professional look closely at the value of your ownership interest in the LLC or Corporation, as this is what the trustee will assess. In many cases, your membership or shares may not be worth enough to be at risk of bankruptcy. In assessing the value of your ownership interest in the LLC or corporation, you should contact a professional with experience in bankruptcy law. They can help you determine whether your family business is at risk and guide you on the right path forward. They’ll discuss the valuation of your membership or shares and whether you need to take action to protect them.

Bankruptcy Often Does Not Impact Your Ownership Interest

In most cases, you can file for bankruptcy without impacting your ownership interest in the family business. For example, in a recent client’s case, we found that his portion of the family LLC wasn’t worth enough to be at risk of bankruptcy. He could file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy to eliminate his credit card, medical, and vehicle repo debts while keeping his ownership interest in the family LLC. In this way, bankruptcy could give Kyle the fresh start he needed while preserving his ownership status.

If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy and worried about how it might impact your family business, there’s no need to fret. While your membership or shares in the LLC or Corporation will be taken into account, they may not be at risk. By working with a professional experienced in bankruptcy law, you can determine the value of your interest and whether it will be impacted. In most cases, you can file for bankruptcy and keep your family business intact. So, don’t let the fear of default keep you from getting a fresh financial start. Consult with a professional and get the help you need.

Contact the Bankruptcy Attorneys at OlsenDaines Today

From our free bankruptcy consultations to our complimentary credit rebuilding program, bankruptcy attorneys at OlsenDaines are here to help you with every step of the bankruptcy process. We are the largest and most experienced consumer bankruptcy law firm in the Pacific NW, with convenient offices throughout Oregon and Washington. We can address your financial difficulties with the expertise and careful planning you are seeking. Contact us today to schedule your free bankruptcy consultation.

How to Make Bankruptcy Process Smooth for You and Your Attorney

How to Make Bankruptcy Process Smooth for You and Your Attorney by OlsenDaines in the Vancouver-Portland Metro area.

Are you one of those people who are overwhelmed by debt and are contemplating filing for bankruptcy? If so, this post is for you.

Filing for bankruptcy might seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. To make the process smoother and less stressful for you and your attorney, consider taking a few simple steps. In this post, we’ll discuss what great bankruptcy clients do to help their attorneys assist them effectively.

Provide Documents in an Appropriate Format

One of the most important things you can do to help your attorney is to provide all the necessary documents in an appropriate format. Typically, people use PDF documents in the business world, and most bankruptcy attorneys also accept PDF. If you provide documents in alternate formats like JPEG or TIFF format, it may take your attorney extra time to modify them before submitting them to the court. Some attorneys offer a portal where you can upload your documents, while others may prefer to receive them by email. Either way, it’s crucial to send all the documents in one email with multiple well-labeled attachments.

Organize Your Documents

Bankruptcy involves summoning a lot of paperwork, and you will need to provide financial information about your assets, debts, and income. Thus, you must ensure all your documents are well-organized before giving them to your attorney. Go through all your documents and create a checklist of required documents. Label each document using appropriate titles such as bank statements, pay stubs, tax returns, or insurance documents. It’s essential to provide all necessary documents since you need a document to ensure your bankruptcy case is completed on time.

Provide Accurate Information

To fill out the bankruptcy petition, your attorney will need accurate information from you. Therefore, it’s essential to be honest and forthright about your finances, assets, and debts. Providing inaccurate information will not only delay your case but can also result in legal consequences. Be sure to inform your attorney of any significant debt or assets you own, even if it’s not listed in your credit report or financial statement.

Answer All Questions Honestly

Your attorney will ask you many questions, some of which may seem too personal. They may ask about your income, expenses, past bankruptcies, or lifestyle. It’s vital to answer all the questions honestly since providing false or inaccurate information can have legal consequences. Your attorney may even re-phrase a question or ask it in a slightly different way to ensure they get an accurate response.

Keep in Touch With Your Attorney

You and your attorney are a team, and communication is vital to ensuring the bankruptcy process runs smoothly. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your case, contact your attorney immediately. Ensure that you respond to all their queries promptly and honestly. Keep your attorney updated on any changes to your finances or personal life, such as job loss, marriage, or relocation.

Bankruptcy can be an overwhelming experience, but with the proper support, it doesn’t have to be. By following these tips, you can make the bankruptcy process smoother and easier for you and your attorney. Remember to provide all the necessary documents in an appropriate format, be honest and accurate about your financial information, and keep in touch with your attorney throughout the process. By doing these things, you will increase the chances of a successful bankruptcy filing and move towards a new financial beginning.

Do you have questions regarding the bankruptcy process? Wondering if bankruptcy is right for you? Whatever questions you may have, we can help. Call today to schedule your free consultation with one of our experienced bankruptcy attorneys in the Vancouver-Portland metro area.

Providing Hope and Help Through Bankruptcy

An image depicting an individual drowning in debt and receiving a helping hand. Call OlsenDaines for bankruptcy assistance in the Portland area.

Struggling with debt can be an extremely overwhelming and disheartening time in one’s life. The constant stress of balancing bills, expenses, and daily needs can leave individuals and families feeling lost and hopeless. This is where bankruptcy can provide a fresh start and a glimmer of hope in an otherwise challenging situation. However, determining whether bankruptcy is the right choice can be daunting and requires careful consideration. This blog aims to guide you through deciding if bankruptcy is right for you and provide the support and resources needed to move forward.

As mentioned, bankruptcy is designed to help individuals and businesses struggling with debt and cannot make ends meet. However, waiting too long to address the issue only amplifies it and makes recovering financially harder. Therefore, it is crucial to seek help as soon as possible and not let the mounting debt take over. At our firm, we understand the stress and anxiety of financial struggles and help our clients navigate their options to help them find the best path forward.

Is Bankruptcy the Right Debt Relief Option for You?

The decision to file for bankruptcy is not easy and requires careful consideration. At our firm, we work with our clients to determine if bankruptcy is the right choice for their situation and whether any alternatives may benefit them. One such alternative is debt consolidation, which allows individuals to consolidate their debt into one payment and lower their interest rates. Refinancing might be the best option for those who own property or have high equity in their home. With our extensive experience, we can help guide you toward the best solution for your unique needs.

What Type of Bankruptcy Should You File?

One of the many misconceptions about bankruptcy is that it always involves losing assets and starting from scratch. However, that is not always the case. Chapter 13 bankruptcy may allow an individual or family to keep their property and restructure their debt into a manageable plan. Chapter 7 bankruptcy, on the other hand, may require the sale of some assets, but often not all. It is important to understand the differences between the types of bankruptcies and which one is best for you. Our firm can provide personalized support and advice to help you make informed decisions.

Importance of Getting Help Before Making the Decision to File Bankruptcy

Deciding whether to file for bankruptcy is a sensitive and complex matter. Understanding your options and consulting with an experienced professional to help you navigate the process is essential. Our law firm has been helping individuals and businesses since 1978 and has the expertise and knowledge to help you through these challenging times. We understand that financial struggles can be difficult and emotionally draining. Therefore, our team of attorneys is committed to providing you with the support and resources needed to help you make informed and confident decisions for a brighter financial future. Do not let your debt take over; let us help you find a way forward.

Contact OlsenDaines for Bankruptcy Advice and Guidance

Our legal team can help you get your financial life back on track and ensure that you are making the best decisions for you and your family. If you are interested in filing for bankruptcy or discussing your other debt-relief options, contact OlsenDaines. We have offices located all throughout Oregon and Washington with experienced bankruptcy attorneys ready and willing to help you relieve your debt. To schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with one of our attorneys, simply call us or fill out our online form! We look forward to hearing from you and working with you to find solutions to your financial issues. 

Protecting Your Assets During Bankruptcy: How We Can Help

Legal bankruptcy documents from attorney explaining to their client how to protect your assets during bankruptcy in OR | OlsenDaines

Dealing with the possibility of bankruptcy or actually going through the process can be an extremely overwhelming situation for anyone. It is not uncommon for people to feel lost, anxious, stressed, and ashamed of their financial situation. 

At OlsenDaines, we understand how important it is for our clients to not only receive relief from their overwhelming debt but also to protect their hard-earned assets. That’s why we are here to assist you in navigating the complexities of how to protect your assets during bankruptcy.

Understanding Bankruptcy and Asset Protection

Most people file for bankruptcy due to job loss, medical debt, or divorce. Whatever the reason, our team of bankruptcy attorneys can help you navigate through this process and make sure that your assets are protected. One of the most significant concerns clients have is whether or not they will lose their assets if they file for bankruptcy. The answer is no, in almost all cases. We will work with you to protect your home, cars, retirement accounts, and other personal property. We are here to ensure that you keep the assets you value the most.

How to Stop Creditor Harassment

Another frequently asked question is whether bankruptcy will stop creditors from harassing and suing them. Again, the answer is yes. Once you file for bankruptcy, creditors are immediately notified through the federal court system and must immediately stop harassment, lawsuits, and any other form of collection of debts. We understand that the constant harassment can be troubling, and protecting our clients from continued harassment is a top priority for us.

Property Listing and Exemptions

As part of the bankruptcy process, you must list all of your property, both real and personal. This includes your home, vehicles, retirement accounts, and household goods and belongings. But there’s no need to worry – there are specific exemptions under state or federal law that protect your property throughout the bankruptcy process. We understand the nuances of federal bankruptcy law and will walk you through each step so that you understand how assets are protected and how a fresh start can help rebuild your life.

How to Rebuild Credit After Bankruptcy

Another question we commonly receive is whether or not filing for bankruptcy will affect future credit. While it is true that bankruptcy does affect credit scores, there are strategies we can use to mitigate any harm that may negatively impact your credit record. We can help you rebuild your credit score after bankruptcy and get back on track to a healthy financial future.

Contact Us for Help Protecting Your Assets During Bankruptcy  

The legal process of filing for bankruptcy and protecting your assets can be confusing and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. At OlsenDaines, our experienced bankruptcy attorneys can help. We will provide you with the guidance you need to protect your assets and navigate through the process of filing for bankruptcy. We are here to help you receive a fresh start and rebuild your financial future. We believe that everyone deserves the chance to move past their debts and have a bright financial future.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and get started on the path to financial freedom.

How to file an adversary proceeding for student loan bankruptcy

Person looking at data on tablet at a busy desk in OR | OlsenDaines

As most people dealing with debt know, there are many different kinds of debt and some types are more difficult to eliminate in bankruptcy than others. Student loan debt is one such debt that’s not automatically discharged in bankruptcy proceedings. Unfortunately, this fact has led many people to believe that student loans can’t be discharged at all. Many borrower can discharge student loan debt through bankruptcy, but it requires additional steps.

This post explains how to file an adversary proceeding for student debt bankruptcy in Oregon, and help you decide whether it’s the right move for you.

How Do You File an Adversary Complaint for Student Loan Bankruptcy?

Getting student debt discharged through bankruptcy requires filing for an adversary proceeding. An adversary proceeding is a legal action that occurs within a bankruptcy case; it’s a formal process used to address specific issues or disputes between various parties that cannot be resolved through the regular bankruptcy process.

What are the Steps to Getting Student Debt Discharged through Bankruptcy?

The first step should always be consulting with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Bankruptcy laws are extremely intricate, and this process is no exception. Need help finding a student loan lawyer? Check out our blog on how to hire the best student loan lawyer for you

If you and your bankruptcy attorney believe your case meets the criteria, you should proceed with these steps:

  • File the complaint: The complaint is filed with the bankruptcy court overseeing your case. There are specific forms and procedures you need to follow, which your attorney will be familiar with. Filing the complaint initiates the adversary proceeding and sets the legal process in motion.
  • Serving the parties involved: After filing the complaint, it must be properly served to all relevant parties, including the student loan lender or servicer. This ensures that everyone involved is aware of the legal action and can respond accordingly.
  • Responses and negotiations: The opposing party will respond to your complaint. This usually leads to negotiations or settlement discussions. Your attorney will guide you through these interactions and help you make informed decisions about potential resolutions.
  • Court proceedings: Depending on the progress of your adversary proceeding, you might need to attend a deposition and trial. Your attorney will represent your interests and present your case to the judge.
  • Decision rendered: The judge will ultimately make the decision. If the court rules in your favor, your student loans will be fully discharged.  The judge can also order a partial discharge if it appears you can pay back some but not all of your student loans.

How Do They Decide Whether to Discharge Your Student Debt?

The judge will make a decision based on your specific situation. The decision is based on three main guidelines:

  • Are you unable to maintain a minimal standard of living for you and your dependents? This is determined by current income and expenses.
  • Is there a likelihood you will be able to pay back your loans in the future? Factors the judge will consider include disabilities, long-term unemployment, and other adverse circumstances.
  • Have you made a good faith effort to repay your loan up until this point? If you’ve enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan, applied for forbearance or forgiveness programs, or consolidation, this can be used as evidence that you have made a good faith effort to pay.

Are You a Candidate for Student Loan Debt Discharge through Bankruptcy?

If student debt is crushing your ability to become financially independent, you may be a good candidate for student debt forgiveness. Of course, as with any possible legal strategy, it’s vitally important to get an opinion from a lawyer with specialized knowledge – in this case, an experienced bankruptcy attorney. An lawyer who focuses his practice on bankruptcy issues will understand the ins and outs of this particular area of law and can review with you some important considerations before you move forward.

While discharging student loans through bankruptcy is not guaranteed, taking the right steps and seeking professional guidance can increase your chances of achieving a favorable outcome and gaining relief from your student loan debt. If you’re ready to start exploring your options for filing an adversary complaint for student loan bankruptcy, give us a call today. Our experienced Oregon-based bankruptcy attorneys are ready to answer all your questions.

How to Get Student Loan Forgiveness After the 2023 Supreme Court Ruling

Supreme Court Building | How to get student loan forgiveness after the Supreme Court decision

Are you burdened with a mountain of student debt that feels like it will never go away? Especially after the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the student loan forgiveness plan, millions of Americans are wondering if they will ever find relief from these insurmountable loans. 

If you’re in this situation, there’s still some hope. Many people are unaware that there are several different ways they can achieve student loan forgiveness, even after the Supreme Court’s ruling. In this blog post, the debt relief experts at OlsenDaines will explain what you need to know to get rid of your student loans and find financial freedom. 

About the Supreme Court’s Ruling Against Student Loans

In late 2022, the Biden Administration announced its plan to discharge more than $400 billion in federal student loans across the country. Most borrowers would have been eligible for between $10,000 and $20,000 of immediate relief. However, a few states contested the plan and claimed it was unconstitutional, sparking a legal battle that would ultimately determine the outcome of Biden’s original plan.

The case was brought all the way up to the Supreme Court, which on June 30th reached a decision: that the President did not have the authority to automatically discharge these loans. Biden’s original student loan forgiveness plan would not be allowed to proceed.

Ways to Get Rid of Student Loans

Though the Supreme Court’s decision was disappointing for student loan borrowers across the country, that doesn’t mean it’s time to despair. Most people don’t realize that they may already qualify for these other methods of student loan forgiveness:

Filing for Bankruptcy

Historically, student loans have been considered non-dischargeable through bankruptcy. However, thanks to the Department of Education’s policy changes in late 2022, student loan discharge is more accessible through bankruptcy than ever before. The catch is that you have to demonstrate that the loans are inflicting undue hardship upon your financial situation. 

Unfortunately, there is no strict definition of undue hardship – which is why it was so challenging to use bankruptcy for student loan discharge in the first place. However, the Department of Education has established a list of 14 guidelines that can help determine whether a borrower qualifies. Some examples of factors that can contribute to undue hardship include:

  • If the borrower has a disability
  • If the borrower made a good faith effort to repay the loans
  • If the borrower’s income is below the poverty line for their state

While you don’t have to meet all the guidelines to qualify for full or partial discharge, meeting several of the criteria will increase your odds of a favorable outcome. It’s also worth noting that the process of proving undue hardship can be complex, and it’s important to have a skilled and experienced bankruptcy attorney on your side. An attorney can help you navigate the process and increase your chances of success.


Income-Driven Repayment Plans

Income-driven repayment plans (IDRs) use your family size and discretionary income to determine an appropriate monthly payment amount. For many people, the IDR can significantly lower monthly payment amounts. And, IDR plans offer complete loan cancellation after making a certain number of qualifying payments – typically over the course of 20 or 25 years. Some of the most common IDR plans include:

  • Pay As You Earn (PAYE)
  • Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE)
  • Income-Based Repayment (IBR)
  • Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR)

The main differences between these plans are the percentage of your discretionary income required in each monthly payment and the amount of time you must make payments before qualifying for forgiveness. 

In addition to the four IDR plans above, the Biden Administration has also announced a new plan called the Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) plan. This plan has the lowest monthly payment of any available repayment option and offers a number of other benefits to make your debt more manageable. SAVE is rolling out in the summer of 2023 and goes into full effect beginning 2024.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

To provide relief for full-time employees of government services or non-profit organizations, the federal government also offers Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). This allows the student loans to be forgiven after 120 qualifying payments, or just 10 years, while working for a qualifying public service organization. Some examples of qualifying employers include:

  • Military service
  • Public health
  • Public education
  • Social work
  • Early childhood education
  • 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations

It’s important to note that the 120 payments do not need to be consecutive, but you must fill out paperwork to delineate which payments contribute toward your forgiveness plan. Additionally, not all employers qualify for PSLF. To see if your employer qualifies you for this type of loan forgiveness, use the Department of Education’s search tool for employer eligibility. 

How a Student Loan Lawyer Can Help You

Though there are several methods you can use to find relief from your student loans, the process is rarely easy. But, you don’t have to face it all on your own. At OlsenDaines, we strive to provide our clients with the information and resources they need to combat debt and find financial stability. Whether you need help determining which program is right for you or you need help navigating a bankruptcy case, our skilled lawyers have your back. 

To schedule your free legal consultation, give us a call today!

Explaining the New Bankruptcy Discharge Process for Student Loan Borrowers

Person adding up student loan debt on calculator

Over 42.8 million Americans have student loans, making it one of the most common forms of debt in the United States. While the amount of student loan debt has increased in recent years, it remains one of the most challenging types of debt to discharge through bankruptcy. However, the Department of Education recently reformed its policies to make the discharge process easier and more accessible to student loan borrowers. In this guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about the new bankruptcy discharge process for student loans. 

Adversary Proceedings and “Undue Hardship”

In order to be considered for student loan discharge, individuals must initiate a separate lawsuit within their bankruptcy case called an “adversary proceeding”. During this process, the debtor is essentially suing the student loan lender. To do so, however, the debtor must demonstrate that he or she is experiencing “undue hardship” as a result of the loans.

Prior to these policy changes “undue hardship” was an undefined term in the bankruptcy code, which made it challenging for courts to judge each case by universal standards – leaving a lot of room for interpretation. 

In the past, most courts used something called the “Brunner Test” to determine who qualified for student loan discharge. This test was originally created in a 1987 court case during which a woman attempted to discharge her student loans less than a year after earning her degree. The goal of the test was to deter individuals from rushing into bankruptcy immediately after graduating, and it includes three questions:

  • Have you made a good-faith effort to repay the loans?
  • Are you unable to maintain a minimal standard of living while making the payments?
  • Is your financial situation likely to persist?

If the answer to each of these questions is “yes” and is supported by extensive evidence, then the loans can be discharged. 

On the surface, this may seem like a great system for discharging student debt. However, adversary proceedings are lengthy and costly, and they often weren’t successful because the requirements to pass the Brunner Test were still highly variable. Over time the test became increasingly difficult to pass, and many legal experts think it is now close to impossible to have loans discharged through this method.

How New Policy Changes Make Student Loan Discharge More Accessible

Debtors are still required to initiate an adversary proceeding within their bankruptcy case in order to be considered for student loan dischargeThe recent policy changes will ease the process by:

  • Setting clear standards for what is considered “undue hardship”: The current process uses arbitrary methods to review evidence and determine whether the debtor is experiencing undue hardship. According to the Department of Justice’s recent press release, the new process will include a thorough review of the debtor’s financial situation against concrete standards. These standards will be based on data provided by the Department of Education, along with other information that could contribute to undue hardship. This will ensure each debtor is judged fairly, without room for subjectivity.
  • Allowing for partial discharge if appropriate: Historically, student loans were either completely discharged or left entirely intact. The new policy changes allow for partial discharges depending on the debtor’s financial situation, which will make relief more accessible to those who are struggling with student loans. 

Considering Bankruptcy?

If you are overwhelmed with debt and need relief, don’t hesitate to contact the knowledgeable bankruptcy attorneys at OlsenDaines. Whether you’re dealing with significant student loans or other types of debt, we can assess your situation and help you determine the best course of action to regain financial stability. With over 40 years of experience serving individuals and businesses throughout the state of Oregon, we know how to help you with everything from foreclosures to creditor harassment. Whatever you’re facing, we can help. Just give us a call today to schedule your free legal consultation.