A Successful Chapter 13
Chapter 13 is a long-term commitment. Understanding the requirements of Chapter 13 is necessary to successfully complete your plan. Your attorney is responsible for advising you during your plan. You do not have to be represented by an attorney. It is strongly recommended, however, that you hire an attorney who is knowledgeable in Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases.
The Trustee and staff are prohibited by law from giving you legal advice. Your attorney is your source for answers or advice you need on any specific concerns or questions regarding your particular situation.
Chapter 13 Plan
The first step to a successful Chapter 13 case is to develop an honest and straightforward plan with your attorney. During this process you must develop a budget for your living expenses. Sticking with that budget is key to completing your plan and getting a fresh start.
Chapter 13 Plan Payments
Make your plan payments to the Chapter 13 Trustee on time. PAYMENTS MUST BE MADE BY MONEY ORDER OR CASHIER'S CHECK payable to Lydia S. Meyer, Chapter 13 Trustee and mailed to:
Lydia S. Meyer, Trustee
PO Box 190
Memphis, TN 38101-0190
The number one reason that Chapter 13 cases are not successful is the failure to make timely and adequate plan payments to the Trustee's office. Payments through a payroll deduction should be considered. See discussion of Payroll Deduction below.
You must pay attention to what is happening in your case. Open your mail, read it and react to it immediately. Mail from your attorney, the Bankruptcy court, creditors and the Trustee's office is important. You must read it immediately upon receipt. Deadlines are often contained in this correspondence. Your attorney cannot represent you adequately if you do not read the mail received and contact your attorney as soon as is reasonably possible. Remember, if you have questions about anything that is happening in your case, contact your attorney. Open lines of communication with your attorney are necessary for a successful Chapter 13. Be sure to tell your attorney about important events that occur in your life.
Contact From Chapter 13 Trustee – PLEASE NOTE!
The Trustee's office will never advise you of changes to your Plan or Plan payments via telephone. Your will receive written notification of any changes to the Trustee's payment mailing address. The change (if any) will also be posted on this website.
The Trustee's office will never call or email you requesting sensitive personal information. If you receive a suspicious telephone call or email, contact the Trustee's office or your attorney immediately.
CHAPTER 13 PLAN PAYMENTS
First payment is due no later than 30 days after case is filed.
Payments should be made payable to Lydia S. Meyer, Trustee.
ALL PAYMENTS MUST INCLUDE DEBTORS NAME AND BANKRUPTCY CASE NUMBER.
Lydia S. Meyer, Trustee
PO Box 190
Memphis, TN 38101-0190
Forms of Payment:
All payments must be in the form of:
- Cashier's Check
- Money Order
- Certified Check
- Company check pursuant to payroll request
NO CASH OR PERSONAL CHECKS WILL BE ACCEPTED
DO NOT MAIL PAYMENTS TO THE TRUSTEE'S OFFICE. PAYMENTS ARE NOT ACCEPTED AT THE TRUSTEE'S OFFICE. ALL PAYMENTS MUST BE MAILED TO P.O. BOX 190, MEMPHIS, TN 38101-0190.
The best way to make your plan successful is to have your plan payment deducted from your payroll. This relieves you of the obligation to budget a plan payment. Your employer simply deducts your plan payment from your wages and sends it directly to the Trustee at the payment address above.
If you have your payments deducted from your wages, you must check your payroll stub each pay period to insure that your plan payment was deducted timely and in the correct amount. If there is a payroll deduction in effect and the employer does not deduct the plan payment, you must make the plan payment timely and in full by money order or cashier's check mailed to the plan payment address. You should then check with your payroll department to determine why the payroll order is not being honored by the employer.
If you change jobs during your Chapter 13 Plan, send to your attorney or to the Trustee, information regarding your new employer so a Wage Deduction Request can be issued to your new employer. The following information is needed:
- New Employer's Name
- New Employer's payroll address, phone #, fax #, and contact person if applicable
- How often you are paid (weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, monthly)
You may send your new payroll information via email, fax, or mail.
The Trustee's office now accepts electronic payments through Nationwide TFS! Visit www.tfsbillpay.com
Nationwide TFS is a third part vendor not affliliated with the Trustee's office. If debtors elect to make payments utilizing this service, they are entering into an agreement with TFS, not the Trustee's office. Any fees charged for this service are collected by TFS, not the Trustee's office. Neither the Trustee nor the Trustee's office shares in any fees paid to Nationwide TFS.
Funds cannot be sent overnight via Federal Express or UPS because they cannot be delivered to a P.O. Box. Anything sent via Federal Express or UPS will be returned to you at your expense.
Overnight payments may only be sent via the U.S. Postal Service Express mail to the P.O. Box Address:
Lydia S. Meyer, Trustee
PO Box 190
Memphis, TN 38101-0190
BE SURE TO SAVE ALL RECEIPTS FOR ALL PAYMENTS YOU SEND.
DEBTOR'S DUTIES IN CHAPTER 13 CASE
It is your duty as a chapter 13 Debtor, to be cooperative with the Trustee and the court. You must be completely truthful and must review all bankruptcy documents carefully to make sure that they are accurate. If you don't understand something about your case, ask your attorney to explain the situation to you. Ignorance is not an excuse for not complying with the rules of the Bankruptcy Court or the terms of your confirmed plan. Communication is extremely important.
You must notify your attorney and the Chapter 13 Trustee whenever you have a change in name, address, employment or income. You must provide written notice of any change in address or name to the Clerk of the Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Illinois, Western Division. Your attorney will typically file this notice on your behalf.
You may not sell any property without permission from the Bankruptcy Court.
You may not use any credit – no credit cards, no leases, no purchases on credit, no personal loans – without the approval of the Bankruptcy Court. You must save copies of all documents relating to your bankruptcy. This includes receipts for all plan payments (whether by money order, cashier's check, payroll deduction or E-pay).
You must make all of your plan payments in full and on time. You must comply with any other special terms of the order confirming your Chapter 13 plan (including providing copies of tax returns and appropriate amounts of tax refunds to the Chapter 13 Trustee).
Section 341 First Meeting of Creditors
You must attend your scheduled Section 341 Meeting of Creditors. The hearing is conducted by the Chapter 13 Trustee. The purpose of this hearing is to allow the Trustee and any creditors who attend to question you about your case. The Trustee will also identify any problems with your plan that need to be corrected before your plan can be confirmed.
Bring a government issued photo identification AND your social security card or other proof of your social security number to your hearing. Proof of social security number must be in the form of a document that is not prepared by you. A tax return is not sufficient. A social security card, a W-2, a 1099 or a printed statement from social security administration are acceptable. Your identification and social security number must be confirmed on the record before your case may proceed. Your failure to bring these items to the hearing will result in your 341 meeting being rescheduled or the case even eventually dismissed.
Make sure that you have provided your attorney with copies of your state and federal tax returns for the prior year before your hearing so that your attorney may provide copies to the Trustee. You should also provide your attorney with your pay advices/pay stubs for at least the last 60 days. The law requires that the Trustee receive the pay stubs and tax returns at least 7 days prior to your Section 341 Meeting of Creditors. In addition, you must make sure that you have made at least one or more plan payments (depending on whether you are making your payments weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly or monthly) before your hearing is scheduled.
Unless your plan states otherwise, you are required to make all post-petition mortgage payments in full and on time directly to the creditor. Make sure that you discuss this with your attorney so that you make all of your mortgage payments in full and on time. If you fail to make these payments, the mortgage company may ask the court for permission to foreclose on your home or to continue the foreclosure proceeding that was already in process before you filed your bankruptcy case. Generally, the arrearages on your mortgage are included as part of your Chapter 13 plan. Contact your attorney if you get behind on mortgage payments due after you have filed your bankruptcy case.
REFUND IN A CLOSED CASE
Any funds received that are not necessary to satisfy creditors will be refunded to the debtor.
Funds received before the case is dismissed will be disbursed to creditors. Funds received in a confirmed plan after the Dismissal will be refunded to the debtor.
Funds received before the case is converted, will be disbursed to creditors. All funds received after the conversion will be paid to the debtor. These refund checks, however, will be mailed to the Chapter 7 Trustee.
*If a case is dismissed or converted prior to confirmation, all funds received, less adequate protection payments, or any administrative claims or attorneys fees allowed by court order, will be refunded to the debtor. If the case is converted prior to confirmation, the refund check will be mailed to the Chapter 7 Trustee.
If a case is dismissed or converted prior to confirmation, Trustee's fees will be subtracted from the debtor's refund. Trustee's fees vary from 3% to 7%.
Once you have completed payments under your plan, the Trustee's office will begin a final audit of your case. We will submit paperwork to the Court, usually within about thirty (30) days of the final payment, indicating that the payments required by your plan have been completed. The discharge is issued by the Office of the Clerk of Bankruptcy Court. You may or may not be entitled to a discharge. Please contact your attorney if you have questions about getting a discharge.
We will not issue a Final Report and Account until all creditor checks have cleared the bank. Therefore, the Final Report and Account may come substantially later than your discharge. Your Order for Discharge is extremely important. You should put your copy in a very safe place. While the Order for Discharge will be available later from the Bankruptcy Court, they will charge you a substantial fee and there may be a delay in getting that paper to you. Remember, some creditors may require proof that you completed your Chapter 13 plan successfully in order for you to obtain credit.
If your bankruptcy case was filed after October 17, 2005, completion of the plan payments does not necessarily mean that you will receive a discharge. Among other requirements for a discharge, you must file a certification with the Bankruptcy Court regarding domestic support obligations. The certification form is here for your convenience. In addition, you must complete a court approved financial management course before receiving a discharge. A Certificate of Completion must be filed with the Bankruptcy Court to verify that an appropriate course has been completed. A course is offered by the Trustee at no cost. See Debtor Education Program tab. You should contact your attorney to determine whether you are eligible for a discharge and, if so, whether you have met all requirements for a discharge.
The Order of Discharge protects you against certain creditors and prohibits them from taking any unauthorized action against you after your case has been completed. If you have failed to pay a secured claim during your plan, however, then the lien on the collateral or property securing the debt may still exist despite the discharge. Also, some of your debts may not be discharged by the completion of your Chapter 13 plan. You should discuss these with your attorney and make plans to pay these debts that are not discharged.
This website is for informational purposes only. The Office of the Chapter Trustee does not render legal advice. If you have a legal question concerning a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, please contact your attorney.