Chapter 13 Post-Filing Checklist For Tucson Bankruptcy Cases
First, thank you for using our office. You’re in great hands. A chapter 13 plan is typically 3 to 5 years with some exceptions. Most cases are 5 years for the purposes of keeping payments as low as possible. A debtor in a chapter 13 bankruptcy has several on-going duties, which are outlined below. In addition, there are some available resources We strongly encourage each debtor to spend a couple of minutes learning about the process, the available tools, and to understand their case.
I. Plan Payments
Plan payments are due every month, with the first payment due within 30 days of filing the case. Payments are made using 3rd party vendors. Our office does not monitor these payments. Please make the payments in a timely fashion! Otherwise, a debtor will receive a notice from the trustee that their case will be dismissed in 30 days if not brought current.
Timely payments. For payments to post in the same month they are due, payments will either need to be made online (via TFS) or mailed in at least 7 BUSINESS days before the end of each month. The preferred way to make you plan payments is through the website, https://www.tfsbillpay.com . You will create a login and a password. You can set up automatic payments or you can make manual payments every month. Alternatively, you can mail in your payments by cashier’s check or money order to: Dianne C. Kerns, P.O. Box 366, Memphis, TN 38101-0366. Be sure to include your name and your case number on each payment.
What Not to Do. Do not send payments by FedEx, UPS, or other expedited courier. First Class mail is the quickest way to make your payments, even if you are making your payment late. Absolutely, do not send your payments by certified mail or any other delivery that requires a signature. The payment will not process.
Mortgage Payments Inside the Plan. Some plans involve a mortgage payment, which is called a conduit plan. In these cases, the client is trying to save their home through bringing the home current or modified through the chapter 13 bankruptcy process. It is very important that payments are made each month and that the payment clears in a timely fashion. The trustee, Dianne Kerns, will disperse this payment on the first business day of each month to your mortgage lender. If the payments are late, the mortgage payment cannot be made through the bankruptcy process. If this happens, the mortgage lender can/will lift the bankruptcy protection by filing a “motion for relief” and then reinitiate the foreclosure process. At this point, the home is often lost and the bankruptcy has failed.
II. Review Your Plan & Payments with the Chapter 13 Dashboard
Chapter 13 is in essence a debt consolidation done through a judicial process. Put another way, instead of a debt consolidation loan, clients are using a legal process to consolidate their debt, which happens to provide strategic advantages. It’s a great financial tool. This consolidation process can be reviewed via the website NDC. Clients simply set up a user name and password to review their plan/account. Please visit: https://www.ndc.org/
The online client “dashboard” allows a debtor to review payments, payment history, and trustee distributions. A debtor can review the balance owed on a vehicle or see how much money is left on a tax debt. It’s very helpful and allows a debtor to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
What you’ll need:
- Your full name
- Your bankruptcy case number
- The last four digits of your social security number
- Your Trustee’s name
- A creditor name from the list of creditors on your bankruptcy case, so It might be helpful to have any documents relating to the creditors available.
III. Tax Returns & Refunds
Very important. We set up a separate page to discuss tax returns and refunds. In summary, tax refunds must be proved to the trustee each year and any refund amount exceeding $1,000 must be turned over to the bankruptcy estate. Please visit our discussion of tax returns to learn more.
IV. Chapter 13 Mail – Objections, Evaluations, and Dismissals
A Debtor should never ignore a “notice to dismiss for failure to make plan payments.” This document means the trustee is going to dismiss the case in 30 days if the plan is either not brought current, or if an amended plan is not filed. If you cannot bring the plan payments current, please contact our office.
In each case, the debtor will receive a “Trustee Objection to Exempt Property.” Clients can ignore this; it’s a standard pleading in every case. Creditors might issue objections as well. This is common with tax debt and secured creditors. Often, it’s merely an objection because the scheduled debt amount doesn’t match the creditor’s filed proof of claim. We’ll reconcile these numbers down the road, so again, please ignore these. The trustee will eventually issue her evaluation of the proposed plan, which is issued in the form of an objection. Again, please ignore this document. Finally, a debtor will eventually receive a “notice to dismiss for failure to confirm plan.” Again, debtors can ignore this. Our office will handle all of these documents
Finally, chapter 13 plans are lengthy, and in the interim, life happens. Please contact us with questions or concerns. Some debtors would like to purchase a home while in bankruptcy, while others need to secure a new vehicle. Other times, there are decreases in income, family emergencies, or other changes to a debtor’s scenario. Always feel free to call our office.