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Mr. Michael A. Shurtleff

Mr. Michael A. Shurtleff

Most 5 star google reviews in the Salem area
  • Bankruptcy, Foreclosure Defense
  • Oregon
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Claimed Lawyer ProfileQ&A

Michael Shurtleff is one of the most active foreclosure defense and bankruptcy attorneys in Oregon. He has helped hundreds of families deal with their debt issues.

WARNING!!! I want to take some space from my biography here to try to help you avoid a bad experience with Kevin W. Chern Esq. and UpRight Law. Upright law approaches local attorneys to handle bankruptcy cases. I signed up to do so for a couple of weeks and learned that they tend to advise people to file bankruptcy who don't need to file. They charge more than the local bankruptcy attorneys, and they make the client pay the whole attorney fee up front before filing. This may no longer be the case but that was my personal experience as an attorney.

If you happen to be looking at my biography, presumably you are doing your research, and that is why I feel obligated to try to help you. You can do much better and get a better deal by hiring a local attorney. I buy enough things online that I know how stress-inducing it can be to try to figure out whether someone is a scammer or a good guy. I have never gotten online to bad-mouth another attorney or firm in my career, and I assume I never will again. It is risky and I have no incentive to do so because it makes me look petty. Nevertheless, it pains me to see Mr. Chern's face at the top of each page and imagine people calling him and being poorly served.

Any other local attorney on this page would be a great choice for you, rather than choosing a national firm that has to hire a sales force, and lock you into a contract, and charge more than most attorneys, to try to make their business model work.

The local guys have been making people happy and successfully filing bankruptcies in the area for years. If you need more convincing, please read the article at the following link about UpRight Law's questionable practices.

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

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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Salem Law LLC
3040 Commercial St. SE Ste. 115
Salem, OR 97302
Telephone: (503) 798-8708
Cell: (503) 798-8708
Fax: (503) 664-4316