October 21, 2019

The Confirmation Hearing

The next step in your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Process will be to attend your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Plan Confirmation Hearing.  Do not be alarmed!  You will likely not have to testify at this Hearing at all.  But I will explain below the process leading up to and including your Conformation Hearing, so you can have a preview of events and can ask me questions well in advance so you are fully prepared for this step in your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Process.

After we sign and file your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Petition and Plan, your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee will review your plan and may suggest changes to the Plan.  These changes may adjust the amount paid to your Creditors, the period of the Plan or the Plan payment.  Once I make the suggested changes to your Plan, I will have you review them and sign an Amended Plan.  This is common, and amendments to Plans usually occur at least once or twice in each typical Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Case.

Once your Chapter 13 Trustee believes that your Plan is “confirmable” (or feasible) and has no further changes to suggest, a date for your Confirmation Hearing will be scheduled by the Clerk of the Bankruptcy Court.  I will inform you of that date as soon as it is available to me so that you can arrange to take time off from work or other commitments, if need be, to attend the Hearing with me.

Your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Plan Confirmation Hearing is not like your Chapter 13 Section 341 Meeting in any way.  The Confirmation Hearing will be held in a Federal Courtroom and there will be a Judge present to make an Order of the Court as to whether your Plan is Confirmed or not.  You will likely not even have to stand with me or speak at all.

This is usually a very simple procedural Hearing as we usually know in advance if the Chapter 13 Trustee will support your Plan or not, and most times the Plans are Confirmed as Amended.

At the conclusion of the Confirmation Hearing the Judge will make his or her Order and a copy of the Order will be emailed to my office.  We will send you a copy for your records.

Once the Plan is confirmed the Trustee usually requests that payments be made by way of wage garnishment (or income deduction) if you have a regular salary or wages (not if you are self-employed or retired collecting social security and/or a pension).  This may also be made a Court Order.  This takes the worry and hassle of making the monthly payments away from you.  Again, do not be alarmed, your employer will understand and will not be allowed to discriminate against you for having the wage garnishment.

At this point in your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy process your work is nearly done.  The Plan will now run for 3 or 5 years and there should be no changes unless there is a substantial change in your circumstances, like an illness or loss of income.  You will be responsible for reporting any major changes to me and/or the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee.

You will also be responsible for delivering a copy of your filed tax returns to me each year.

If there are no major changes in circumstances, you will have to complete one last step (a Debtor Education Course) sometime before your last payment is due to the Trustee.

I will send you a gentle reminder to take the Debtor Education Course sooner rather than later so you don’t forget in the up to five year period it takes to reach the end of the Plan.  In the following blog of this Chapter 13 Series, I will explain what Debtor Education is and how it will assist you in rebuilding your credit.

For more information on this and other Bankruptcy topics, contact Attorney Theresa Rose DeGray at 203-713-8877.

The Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee

In your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy process there will be 3 main characters: you, your attorney and the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee.

The Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee is the person who oversees your Bankruptcy Case.

There is currently only one Chapter 13 Trustee in the State of Connecticut, who is appointed by the United States Trustee.  The Trustee Program is a part of the Department of Justice.

The United States Trustee Program is a component of the Department of Justice that seeks to promote the efficiency and protect the integrity of the Federal bankruptcy system. To further the public interest in the just, speedy and economical resolution of cases filed under the Bankruptcy Code, the Program monitors the conduct of bankruptcy parties and private estate trustees, oversees related administrative functions, and acts to ensure compliance with applicable laws and procedures. It also identifies and helps investigate bankruptcy fraud and abuse in coordination with United States Attorneys, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other law enforcement agencies.”The U.S. Department of Justice

Upon filing of your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Petition you will be assigned to the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee by the Bankruptcy Court’s computer system.  I will deliver the name, address and payment instructions of the Chapter 13 Trustee to you in person or by email the day you sign and I file your Petition, and a few days later an official Notice from the Bankruptcy Court will be mailed to you with this and other pertinent information about your Bankruptcy case.

The primary duties of the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee are to:

  •  Examine your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Petition, Schedules and Plan;
  •  Conduct a 341 Meeting of the Creditors (a Hearing you must attend and testify at under oath);
  •  Review your Plan and suggest any changes prior to the Confirmation Hearing and;
  •  Administer your Plan by collecting your payments and making disbursements to your Creditors.

The Chapter 13 Trustee Administrative expenses are built into and paid out of your Plan.  Additionally, the Trustee has the power to refer cases to higher authorities to be investigated for Bankruptcy Fraud and/or other crimes, if appropriate.  Therefore, it is imperative that you fully disclose all of your income, assets and liabilities to me during your Bankruptcy process so I may properly prepare your Bankruptcy Petition to avoid any improprieties.

After your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Petition and Plan are filed, but before you attend your 341 Meeting, we will mail to you a Questionnaire provided by your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee.  The questions are simple and you should be able to answer them all without assistance, but of course, I am always here to guide you.  An example of one inquiry on the questionnaire would be “have you ever filed bankruptcy before?”  If the answer is “yes,” there will be a few follow-up questions like “What was the case number?” and “Did you receive a discharge?”

Your Chapter 13 Trustee will also provide to my office a list of required documents that the Trustee will examine in conjunction with your Bankruptcy Petition.  The list of requested documents will include such things as Tax Returns, Bank Statements and Paystubs.  Usually I will already have everything that is requested, but I may ask you to provide additional documents to satisfy the requests of your Chapter 13 Trustee.

The next part of my Chapter 13 Bankruptcy series will take you through your Chapter 13 Section 341 Meeting of the Creditors so you are fully prepared to attend the Hearing.

Contact Attorney Theresa Rose DeGray at 203-713-8877 for more information on this and other Bankruptcy related topics.

October or…Never?

MEANS TEST NUMBERS ARE GOING DOWN

 

Bad News in the Bankruptcy World:

Bankruptcy qualification is based solely on household income. Every six months or so the Office of the United States Trustee changes the Means Testing figures. Come Novermber 1, 2018, the Means Testing Numbers are going down. This directly results in less people being qualified to file for Bankruptcy.

Good News For You:

If you are contemplating Bankruptcy, I am urging you to get tested as soon as possible to see if you qualify and can file in October before the changes take effect. During the remaining days of October, I am offering FREE Consultations 7 days per week and FREE Means Testing. Click HERE to schedule your appointment right away.

This firm is a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief amongst other things, under the Bankruptcy Code.