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What is going to happen now that I filed a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Since you have just filed a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, you probably have a lot of questions! The following series of “Questions and Answers” is provided to you only for purposes of introduction and to give you some idea of what to expect. “Bankruptcy” refers to the set of laws and rules that help a debtor facing more debt than he or she can afford to pay. In bankruptcy, the person that owes money is referred to as the “Debtor". The Bankruptcy Code will determine what actually happens in your case. The Bankruptcy Code is Title 11 of the United States Code. The current Bankruptcy Law is commonly referred to as the “Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005.” This new Act became effective for all cases filed on and after October 17, 2005. This Act includes the federal law that provides help for persons or businesses experiencing serious financial difficulties. It is divided into several chapters, each of which offers debtors a different set of options dealing with creditors. Chapters 7 and 13 are the chapters that are available for individual debtors and small unincorporated businesses. You need to discuss your individual concerns, legal rights, and specific questions about your particular situation and how the Bankruptcy Code will affect your case with me since I am your attorney.

 

What is a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy and how does it work?

Chapter 13 is one form of bankruptcy in which you obtain relief from your creditors and submit a plan to repay your debts over a period of generally not less than 36 months and not more than 60 months.  Assuming you have not had a prior dismissed bankruptcy case within the last year, the Court prohibits your creditors from trying to collect any money or recover property from you during the time you are in your Chapter 13 plan. If you have had a prior bankruptcy case dismissed within the last year, the bankruptcy protection, known as the “automatic stay,” may only be effective for a period of 30 days or there may be no automatic stay at all if you’ve had more than one case dismissed in the last year. You are now required to make your first plan payment to the Trustee at the time that you file your Chapter 13 bankruptcy case. You must make regular monthly payments by Wage Deduction (if you are employed), Official Bank Check, Cashier’s Check, or Postal Money Order to the Chapter 13 Trustee each month. The money collected by the Chapter 13 Trustee is disbursed to your creditors according to your Chapter 13 plan with some claims to secured creditors paid immediately and all others paid according to your plan after it is confirmed by the Court.

 

Where is a Chapter 13 case filed?

Your Chapter 13 petition is filed with the Clerk of the Bankruptcy Court in the Federal District where you have lived, had your principal place of business or had your principal assets located for the greater part of the last 180 days (91 of the last 180 days).

 

The Bankruptcy Court is a part of the system of federal courts and is a special court that was created by Congress just to hear cases and make decisions about disputes between debtors and creditors involved in a bankruptcy case.

 

Your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy case has been filed in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Kentucky. As your bankruptcy attorney, I will be responsible for filing all of the required documents and papers in your case. The Bankruptcy Court currently operates an on-line Electronic Case Filing system. Under this system, all Court documents are filed electronically with the Court through computer programs and systems operated by your attorney and by the Court system. All of the documents filed in your case by any party are maintained in digital images on secure computer records in my office.

 

Why is your Chapter 13 case number important?

At the time your Chapter 13 petition was filed, the Bankruptcy Clerk assigned you a seven-digit case number. The first two digits represent the year in which your case was filed. Your case number is very important. You will need it whenever you call the Trustee’s office or when you make a payment to the Trustee. Your case number should be clearly written on all payments to the Trustee or when you obtain information from the Clerk’s office.

 

Your address and employer

Both the Trustee and my office need to know your exact mailing address for as long as you are under Chapter 13. The Trustee has the address which you put on your petition, and the Trustee will send all notices and annual reports to that address until you or my office tells the Trustee and the Court to send them somewhere else. If you ever move or change your mailing address, you must INFORM MY OFFICE, the COURT, and the TRUSTEE in WRITING of your new address. The Trustee also needs to know your current employer’s name and address. My office always needs your current telephone number and E-Mail address. Please let us know when they change.

 

"My friend went through bankruptcy, and he says” 

You have probably already received or will receive advice on what to do from well-meaning friends and relatives who have themselves experienced financial problems. Just like no two people are alike, no two “Chapter 13 Bankruptcies” are alike. Take the advice of your well-meaning friends and acquaintances with the proverbial “grain of salt.” If you have a specific question about anything related to your bankruptcy, make it your rule to call or E-Mail my office and ASK YOUR ATTORNEY, and I will try to provide you with an answer that applies to your special situation.

 

What should I expect my attorney to do in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy? 

As your attorney, it is my function is to aid and assist you in successfully completing your Chapter 13 plan. Both I and my paralegal, Lisa, are here to answer any questions or concerns regarding your plan and the legal consequences of your case. Remember, your attorney is your legal advisor, not the Trustee. The Trustee and his staff are not allowed to give you legal advice regarding your case.

 

My office will make every effort to return all telephone calls within 48 hours, excluding weekends and holidays. Under the rules of the Bankruptcy Court, as your attorney, I must continue to appear and represent you until the Court permits me to withdraw from your case. An attorney may only withdraw from a case for “good cause” after proper notice to you. This means that the attorney must file a motion with the Court, notice it for a hearing, and provide you with an opportunity to be heard.

 

What may I expect from the Chapter 13 Trustee? 

The Trustee’s main function is to administer the funds received from you.

 

The Trustee and his staff cannot and will not give you legal advice. The Trustee can require that you provide information and documents, either before, after, or at the first meeting of creditors over which he presides. You should always cooperate with the Trustee because failure to cooperate with the Trustee could be grounds for dismissal or denial of your case discharge.

 

What does the Chapter 13 Trustee expect of me? 

Both the Trustee and I expect you to be cooperative and truthful. We both also expect you to ask questions when you do not understand any aspects of the administration of your case. Please notify both the Trustee and my office promptly whenever you change your address, telephone number, employer or employment status. Do not incur new debts, sell any property or enter into any leases without the court first approving it. The Trustee requires that you submit the tax returns that were filed for the year preceding the filing of your bankruptcy case or the last required return within the four-year period preceding the filing of your bankruptcy case. You should provide these copies to my office so that I can forward them to the Trustee. My office may need to obtain a tax transcript from the IRS if you are unable to provide the required returns. The charge for each transcript of each tax year for each tax paper is $25.00, and this fee must be paid in advance. The Trustee may also require that you submit an amended budget each year to reflect the current status of your monthly income and expenses as well as income tax returns that come due during your Chapter 13 bankruptcy case.  Should this information be required, my office and the Trustee’s office will contact you. Finally, the Trustee expects you to handle your payments in a prompt, regular and business-like manner.

 

When will I have to appear in court in a Chapter 13 case? 

In the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Kentucky, you will have to appear for at least one court hearing generally known as the “First Meeting of Creditors.” The fact that this first appearance is called the “First Meeting” does not mean that there will automatically be a second, third or fourth meeting. This is just an expression used to describe your first court appearance. This meeting is conducted by the Chapter 13 Trustee. The Bankruptcy Judge will not be attending this meeting. This meeting will be held within 30 to 45 days after your case is filed. You will be notified of the time, date and place of this hearing by my office and by the Court. This is a mandatory court appearance on your part. Your failure to appear at this meeting will result in the automatic dismissal of your Chapter 13 case. The meeting is also called the “meeting of creditors” because creditors may attend and question a debtor about the location and disposition of assets and any other matter relevant to the administration of the case. However, creditors are not required to attend these hearings and most often do not appear; however, in general, they do not waive their rights by failing to appear.

 

Confirmation hearings (i.e., final approval of your plan) are handled by me as your attorney and the Chapter 13 Trustee. You may be required to appear at additional hearings if circumstances regarding your case change and mandate a hearing but you will receive notice of any such requirement by the Court as well as my office.

 

May I change to Chapter 7 if my Chapter 13 case is still open?

Yes. A Chapter 13 case may be converted to a Chapter 7 case at any time. You should contact my office for an appointment if you are considering converting your case. Additional legal and court fees must be paid before a case can be converted to Chapter 7.

 

What effect does filing under Chapter 13 have on lawsuits and attachments previously filed against me? 

Under Federal Bankruptcy Law, the filing of a Chapter 13 case automatically stops or “STAYS” all lawsuits, attachments, foreclosures, garnishments, repossessions, and other actions by creditors against either you or your property if this is the first Chapter 13 bankruptcy case that you have filed or if any previous case was filed and dismissed more than one year ago. If this is not your first bankruptcy case, then I will have already discussed the available duration of the automatic stay, if any, with you. Within 48 hours after your case is filed, a notice is mailed by my office and by the Court to all of your creditors advising them of this automatic stay. The creditors may be notified sooner by either you or my office, if necessary.

 

Since you are now protected from your creditors under the Federal Bankruptcy Laws of the United States of America, please tell any of your creditors who may contact you that you have filed for Chapter 13 relief and that your attorney is Marc H. Levy. You should also advise them to contact me or Lisa at 502-583-5023. This is all you need to say to any creditor.

 

If you receive any verbal or written demands from creditors more than two weeks from the date your case was filed, please notify your attorney. If the contact is by telephone, then you need to obtain the telephone number of the person calling you, the name of the creditor or the collection agent, the mailing address for such party, the name of the person who called you, and how much money they want you to send. The best way to get this information is to “act stupidly” and “be nice.” It is also lawful in Kentucky for you to record any telephone conversation between any creditor, collection agent, collection attorney and you. If you record a conversation, be sure to state that “I am recording your call and if you continue talking that will be considered your consent to being recorded.” Accordingly, if you have a tape recorder, use it. If you have any answering machine with a time and date function, use it and save every message. If the contact is by mail, then you need to save the envelope for proof of the postmark date. You should notify my office of any such contacts.

 

Please note that creditors who contact you after being notified of your bankruptcy case may be subject to various monetary and other sanctions for contempt of Court and violations of the “Automatic” Bankruptcy Stay. In many cases, the Bankruptcy Court will order such creditors to pay money damages to you (including legal fees) for such violations. We always take these cases on a contingency fee arrangement. In short, unless we recover money damages from these creditors you do not owe us any additional legal fees for pursuing these types of claims. We can assure you that the Bankruptcy Court takes these matters seriously and that they are vigorously pursued by our office.  

 

Will my creditors be able to take my wages or property while the Chapter 13 case is in effect? 

Unless you have had one or more bankruptcy cases dismissed within the last year, the automatic stay described in the previous sections remains in effect during the entire Chapter 13 case and your creditors will not be permitted to take or otherwise proceed against any of your property or assets, including your earnings. However, if secured creditors to whom you are in default are not being paid under the plan or if you are not making your direct home mortgage payments, these creditors may go to the Bankruptcy Court and seek permission to repossess or foreclose on the property which is subject to their valid liens.  Creditors secured by vehicle loans may also have your vehicle stored by Order of the Court if you fail to maintain physical damage insurance on the vehicle securing the loan.

 

There are some exceptions to this general rule; the most common being child support, alimony, income tax refunds and certain property tax situations. For example, the IRS may apply your post-filing tax refund against any taxes included in your plan. The IRS must notify the Trustee of this action, but it is otherwise lawful. Other examples are court-ordered child support or alimony obligations which are classified as “domestic support orders.” The Bankruptcy Code has strict guidelines to ensure that if you owe ongoing support, you make provision for payment of any arrearage and maintain the ongoing obligations during your Chapter 13 case. Also, if you have a 401 (K) or a retirement loan your Plan Administrator may continue to deduct the agreed payments from your paycheck and this action is not barred by the Bankruptcy Stay. Specific questions regarding your situation and whether these exceptions apply to your case should be discussed with your attorney.  

 

May I repay some of my creditors and not others under Chapter 13? 

You cannot selectively “pick and choose” some particular creditors and decide to pay them “on the side.” All of your debts must be dealt with through the Bankruptcy Court and your repayment plan. Any payments which you make to a creditor must be paid under the authority of the Court, by the terms of the law, and not by any personal desires. If you want to pay creditors, you must do so through your Chapter 13 plan. You should review your paperwork carefully to ensure that all of your creditors were listed. Should you determine after your case is filed that you have inadvertently failed to list a creditor, you should provide a copy of a billing statement to your attorney so that the debt can be added to your schedules and plan. There will be a $26.00 fee assessed by the Bankruptcy Court plus any applicable non-base legal fees and expenses to my office for the filing of any necessary motion.

 

Are Student loan debts dischargeable? 

With very little exception, most student loans are not discharged in bankruptcy. To seek such a discharge, a debtor must prove substantial and undue financial and physical hardships that would make the repayment of any amount of these loans virtually impossible. However, while you are in your Chapter 13, you can make Student Loan payments either through your Chapter 13 or directly to the Creditor. You should refer more specific questions directly to me.

 

How are debts that have been co-signed or guaranteed by another person handled under Chapter 13? 

If a consumer debt which has been co-signed or guaranteed by another person is being paid off in full under the Chapter 13 plan, then the automatic stay that was entered when the case was filed will prevent the creditor from collecting the debt from the other person who has not filed. However, the creditor may ask the Court’s permission to collect from the other person the portion of the debt that is not being paid off under the plan after you receive your discharge. The creditor may also pursue the co-signer for any balance owed once a discharge has been entered in your case. It is also possible that the non-filing co-signer of any such debt could have adverse information about your bankruptcy reported on his or her consumer credit report. You should, therefore, advise all such persons of your bankruptcy filing and they will all be listed on your bankruptcy papers and receive notice in any event. The Trustee will only pay in full those co-signed debts that are specifically provided for in your plan. Please call my office if you have any questions.

 

What is required for court approval of a Chapter 13 Plan? 

The Court will confirm a Chapter 13 plan if:

  • The plan complies with the requirements of Chapter 13 generally;

  • All required fees, charges, deposits and payments have been made;

  • The plan has been proposed in good faith;

  • Each secured creditor is allowed to retain his lien on his collateral and is paid the full amount of the secured claim or the fair market value at the time of filing for his collateral under the plan;

  • Each unsecured creditor will receive under the plan at least as much as the creditor would have received if you had filed a Chapter 7; and

  • It appears that the debtor will be able to make the required payments and to comply with the plan.

What if the court does not approve my Chapter 13 plan? 

If the Court does not confirm the Chapter 13 plan you have proposed, it will usually state the reasons for such disapproval so that the plan may be appropriately modified, amended, converted to a Chapter 7 or dismissed. Many Chapter 13 plans are amended and modified at the “first meeting of creditors” if creditors have filed valid claims higher than you scheduled or if their collateral has been assigned a greater value by the Trustee. Once a case is dismissed, your creditors may again pursue the collection of your debts. As your attorney, I will not file a Chapter 13 case unless I am very confident the plan will be approved by the Court.

 

When must the Chapter 13 payments begin and how often must they be made? 

You are required to submit the first payment due under your plan with the first paycheck you receive after the filing of your case. Your next payment is due with your next paycheck you receive after you file your case and every paycheck thereafter until you go to court. You send the payment to my office until you go to court. At court, all money paid to my office is turned over to the Chapter 13 Trustee.

 

Payroll deduction orders 

You may find it easier to have your employer deduct your plan payments from your paycheck. In most cases, it is mandatory and ordered by the Court. I recommend a wage deduction order in every Chapter 13 case because once the order is effective, you do not have to worry anymore about making the payments.  In the Western District of Kentucky, it is mandatory. It is important that both you and your employer understand that such an order is not a garnishment. If your employer has any questions, he or she should contact your employer’s legal counsel. Be sure to notify both my office and the Trustee if you change or terminate your employment.

 

What if I am temporarily unable to make my Chapter 13 payments? 

It is very important for you to immediately contact my office if you ever expect to miss a payment due to a layoff, medical disability, accident, etc. If you are temporarily out of work, injured, or otherwise unable to make the payments required under the Chapter 13 plan, the Court may, upon proper application, allow you to suspend payments for a period of time. If you anticipate your situation to be a temporary situation, upon receipt of documentation evidencing your basis for the need, as your attorney, I can file a motion with the Court for your plan payments to be temporarily suspended for up to three months during any given 12 month period. We can only file such a motion for a reasonable cause and with documentation such as a doctor’s note, receipts for unanticipated expenses such as medical bills or other expenses, etc. You must understand, however, that the filing of such a motion will most likely require an increase in your monthly plan payments after the allowed suspension period since this does not decrease the amount that you still owe under your Chapter 13 plan. If it appears that your inability to make the required payments will continue for an extended period, you may be permitted to amend your plan, or the case may be dismissed or converted to Chapter 7.  Remember - neither your attorney’s office nor the Trustee’s office has the authority to let you miss a plan payment or allow you to pay less than your plan requires. Only the Court can make such a decision. As your attorney, I can ask the Court to change the requirements of your plan if you feel that you cannot meet the obligations of your plan. If you fail to make the required plan payments or receive allowance to miss any payments, the Court will enter a dismissal order which will end your case. When the Court dismisses a case, the automatic stay ends and creditors may start to collect on debts again. A dismissal order does not free a debtor from any debt.

 

What if I experience a change in circumstances after my case is filed? 

The Trustee and the Bankruptcy Court understand that unanticipated things happen after the filing of your case. My office can help you resolve whatever issues arise but we must be aware of your circumstances. Should you receive an inheritance, have substantial gambling or lottery winnings or have an increase of 15% or more in your wages, you will need to contact my office with this information. I will review these circumstances to determine if any action of notification is required.

 

Should you receive a settlement of any kind such as personal injury, fire loss, property damage, worker’s compensation or Social Security Disability, you should provide the documentation for the settlement to my office.  Such settlements require approval by the Bankruptcy Court, although under most circumstances such settlements are protected by Federal exemptions.

 

If you have a vehicle accident, you should also contact my office. We will need to determine the extent of your loss if the vehicle is financed and paid under your plan, and review any proposed insurance settlement. Depending upon the extent of your loss, you may need to obtain alternate transportation and we may additionally need to petition the Court to substitute your replacement vehicle if a financed vehicle paid under your plan was deemed a total loss. You should provide any documentation or insurance settlement checks to my office so that they can be processed accordingly.

 

Any of the motions that may need to be filed in your bankruptcy case due to a change in circumstances will take 30 to 45 days to obtain the Court’s approval assuming that no parties object to the terms of the motion.

 

May I make a higher payment than is required under the plan? 

If you are ever in a position to increase your plan payments to the Trustee, you should contact my office for advice on prepaying your plan payments. You may send extra monthly payments to the Trustee at any time if you are in a 100% Plan (paying all of your creditors in full). If you want to simply pay off your plan early, you may do so but call my office first.

 

What if I later decide that I no longer want to make payments and to continue with the Chapter 13 plan? 

Federal bankruptcy law allows the debtor to either dismiss a Chapter 13 case or to convert it to Chapter 7 at any time unless your case has previously been converted from another chapter of the Bankruptcy Code. No one can force you to remain under a Chapter 13 plan if you do not wish to remain. If you desire to stop your case, contact my office.

 

However, if you simply stop making the Chapter 13 payments, any creditor in your case may ask the Court to dismiss your case. The Trustee will ask the Court to dismiss your case or place you on payroll deductions if:

  • You fail to make your first payment (s) at the time your case is filed; and/or

  • If you fail to make your required regular monthly plan payments.

You should understand that a dismissal will reactivate all unpaid or disputed debt, all interest, finance charges, legal fees, all late charges not allowed by the Bankruptcy Court, and all debts of creditors who did not file their claims. This can include debts for which my office has obtained special treatment either by terms of your confirmed Chapter 13 plan or by prevailing in motion or adversary proceeding.  Consider also that you will be forced to deal with those creditors on their terms, not yours or the Court’s.

 

How do I find out how much is owed to creditors under my plan? 

The Trustee’s office will send you a report every twelve months of what has been paid to all your creditors. Be sure to review this report carefully and contact my office immediately if you have any questions or concerns. The report will list the creditor’s claim amount and the amount paid to date to each of your creditors. The balance due on your plan is noted at the top of the report. Also, it is possible that one or more of your creditors is receiving interest and therefore the balance will change from month to month. The balance due is, therefore, only an approximate figure.

 

How are creditors paid? 

The monthly plan payments which you pay to the Trustee are used to pay expenses of administration, including payments to your attorney, and payments to your creditors. So that you will have some idea as to how the creditors are paid, you should understand that there are three (3) basic types of claims; priority (such as tax claims), secured (holding liens on property) and unsecured (consumer debt with no liens on property). Generally, your Trustee will pay secured creditors first, then administrative costs, then priority and finally unsecured.

 

What happens to creditors who were not listed on my schedules? 

Creditors not listed by you when you filed can create some potential problems. There are two (2) kinds of unlisted creditors: those who were owed money at the time of your filing but were forgotten (“unlisted creditors”) and those creditors who have a bill that was incurred after you file (“post-petition creditor”). If you find an unlisted creditor, you should let my office know the details immediately so that the debt can be properly addressed through your plan. Should you incur large post-petition debts (such as medical bills), you should contact my office to determine how best to deal with these debts.

 

What if I don’t agree with how much a creditor is receiving? 

If you disagree with the amount a creditor claims you owe then contact my office. No one is more familiar with the debts than you.

 

Can I incur new debt after I filed my Chapter 13 plan?

You may find yourself in a situation where you need to incur additional debt after you have filed your Chapter 13 plan. The following are the guidelines on incurring additional credit provided by the Bankruptcy Code:

  • The debt must be for consumer debt and “for a property or services necessary for the debtor’s performance under the plan”;

  • You must be able to prove you have the ability to pay the debt; and

  • The Court must approve or deny such additional credit. The Court requires the filing of a motion and notice to your creditors for any new credit.

If you wish to secure such credit, contact my office to process the necessary paperwork.

 

Can I sell any property during my Chapter 13 plan? 

You are required to get Court approval should you wish to sell any real or personal property worth more than $500.00 during your bankruptcy case. You should contact my office with all information regarding the collateral to be sold and the terms of the sale so that I can prepare the required motion for approval of the sale. If you wish to sell real property, you should supply the Offer to Purchase contract with all terms of the sale for my office to review. You need to be aware that the approval process for any sale is usually between 30 and 45 days so if you are listing real property for sale through a real estate agent or broker you will need to advise them of your bankruptcy case so that they can draft the purchase contracts accordingly.

 

Will a Chapter 13 bankruptcy affect my credit rating? 

Your credit rating during and after completion of Chapter 13 will ultimately be based upon the personal opinion of any credit-grantor who looks over your credit record. Your credit record is a record of all your past credit performances. The record is made available to a creditor, and he or she makes up his or her own mind, by his or her own standards, as to whether or not he or she wants to grant credit to you.

 

Your bankruptcy will remain on your credit report for up to a period of 10 years, depending on the credit reporting agency’s policy. If you successfully complete a Chapter 13 plan and receive a discharge, many credit reporting agencies will report that information for only seven years because such agencies may not report a bankruptcy case on a person’s credit report after ten years from the date of the filing of a bankruptcy case.

 

When do I have to complete the financial management course? 

The enactment of the new bankruptcy laws which became effective on October 17, 2005, required that you complete a financial management and educational course prior to making your last and final Chapter 13 plan payment to the Trustee. If you fail to take the course, then the discharge of your Chapter 13 bankruptcy case will be denied. My office will contact you upon completion of your case to take the final debt counseling course. You have 30 days from the time my office contacts you to take care of this final matter.

 

What happens when all payments have been completed? 

Once enough money has been paid to the Trustee to complete all of your required payments, the Trustee will begin the process of closing your case. The closing process normally takes 6 to 8 weeks and is completed in the following order:

  • Court Audit. The Trustee’s office verifies that all claims filed in your case were paid correctly and all court orders were properly administered. If any problem is discovered, you and my office are notified.

  • Stop Payment. The Trustee’s office prepares a final report for the judge.

  • Final Report. The Trustee’s office prepares a final report for the judge.

  • Case Discharge. The judge signs an order discharging you from your scheduled debts. A “discharge” is an order, issued by the Bankruptcy Court, which permanently prohibits creditors from taking action to collect dischargeable debts against a debtor and with very limited exceptions, against income and property that a debtor acquires after the bankruptcy filing. When a debt has been discharged, the creditor can no longer enforce it. The discharge is the primary benefit most debtors receive from filing a bankruptcy. Some exceptions to the discharge include, but are not necessarily limited to, student loan debts, alimony or child support obligations, certain mortgage debts, criminal restitution and debts for driving while intoxicated resulting in injury or death.

  • Notice of Discharge. The Trustee sends a notice to you, to your attorney and to your creditors. This tells you when your case was discharged by the judge.

  • Refund. After the judge discharges your case, you receive a refund from the Trustee if there is money remaining in your case.

  • Case Closing. This is the actual date that the Bankruptcy Court officially closes your case file with the court. Quite often this is the same date as the date the Discharge Order is entered in Chapter 13 bankruptcies.

How do I inform the credit reporting agencies of my Chapter 13 completion? 

You and my office will both receive copies of the Discharge Order. Approximately four to six weeks after the judge has discharged your case, your discharge papers will also be available at the courthouse. This legal document states that you have been discharged from your scheduled debts. The Trustee will not have copies of your discharge papers.

 

Make several copies of your discharge papers, and send copies to the three major credit bureaus:

 

Experian

P.O. Box 2002

Allen, TX 75013

(800) 392-1122

 

TransUnion

P.O. Box 2000

Chester, PA 19022

(312) 408-1050 for information

 

Equifax Information Services LLC

P.O. Box 740256

Atlanta, GA 30374

(800) 685-1111

Fax (404) 612-3150

 

You are entitled to receive a free credit report each year from one or all three of the major credit reporting agencies. One manner of obtaining these credit reports is by accessing www.annualcreditreport.com and following the instructions to print the report. You should obtain a credit report approximately three to six months after the discharge process of your case has been completed to review the information to ensure that it accurately reflects the discharge of your case. Should you find any improper credit reporting, make sure to contact my office so that we can review your credit report for any discharge violations by your creditors. My office pursues these matters aggressively as well.

 

Where do I obtain the title to my property after completion of my Chapter 13? 

When a creditor has had a claim paid by Chapter 13, whether partially or in full, the creditor should, and usually does, send the “paid-in-full” papers to you. If any of your creditors hold liens on your motor vehicles, or in some cases a mortgage or deed of trust on your real property, then they are required to release the liens and encumbrances and send clear titles to you within 30 days of the issuance of your Discharge Order. Contact the creditor holding title, not the Trustee’s office, to obtain your titles. If you have any problems, please contact my office as such action could provide grounds for legal action against such creditors for actual damages, costs and the payment of your legal fees. It should also be noted creditors who refuse to deliver titles may violate State laws as well as the Federal

bankruptcy laws.