WHERE DO I MAIL MY PLAN PAYMENT?

William K. Stephenson, Jr.
Chapter 13 Trustee

P. O. Box 280
Memphis, TN 38101-0280

WHEN MUST I MAKE MY FIRST PAYMENT?

Your first payment is due thirty (30) days from the date your first filed your bankruptcy Petition.  This is true even if you did not file a chapter 13 Plan at that same time.  You must make the payment to the Trustee unless and until you employer begins deducting money from you paychecks.  As the payment amount frequently changes when the plan is confirmed, you should insure that your attorney has advised you of the correct amount.  If you lose your job or the employer is no longer making the payments for you, it is your responsibility to make the payments directly to the Trustee on time. Checks returned by the bank for insufficient funds will result in a motion to dismiss being filed in your case.

WHAT ELSE SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT MAKING PAYMENTS?

Most Chapter 13 payments are made through a payroll deduction at your place of employment.  Only in unusual circumstances will the court allow you to make payments directly to the Trustee, instead of by payroll deduction Order.  If you make direct payments, we strongly recommend postal money orders.  In the even of a lost payment, these are easier to track.  For the same reason, we recommend that you retain copies of all checks or money orders.  Be sure to include your name, address, and your chapter 13 case number on the front of your check to ensure proper credit.  Please print this information to avoid errors or delays in posting payments due to illegible writing.

 NO PAYMENTS ARE ACCEPTED AT THE CHAPTER 13 OFFICE.
 WE DISCOURAGE PERSONAL CHECKS.
 CASH PAYMENTS CANNOT BE ACCEPTED.

PAYROLL DEDUCTION ORDERS back to top

When your plan is filed, the Court may issue an Order directing your employer to deduct your plan payments from your paycheck and send it to the Chapter 13 Trustee.  The Court is carrying out its duty to administer the plan that you voluntarily filed.  You gave the Court exclusive jurisdiction over the future income as long as you are actively involved in a Chapter 13 Plan.  We find that most employers understand that you are making a serious effort to repay your debts instead of avoiding them, and think more highly of an employee who seeks to pay his debts.  If your employer has questions, he or she may call our office for an explanation.

Note: It may take several weeks for your payroll deduction to become effective.  In the meantime, be sure to make your regular payments directly to the Trustee.  If your employer ever fails to make a payroll deduction, you must tell your attorney that the deduction was not made and you must send the needed plan payment to the Trustee by money order, postal order or cashier’s check.

OBLIGATION TO PAY back to top

Even though the Court will usually order your employer to deduct plan payments and send them to the Trustee, you must remember that YOU are ultimately responsible for making sure your payments are made.  If your employer ever fails to make a plan payment deduction, you must tell your attorney that the deduction was not taken out of your pay and you must send the needed plan payment to the Trustee.  It is a good idea to keep your pay stubs as a record of your payments.  If the Trustee does not receive a required payment, any creditor in your case may ask the Court to dismiss the case.  The Trustee will ask the Court to dismiss your case if you fail to make the required payments due under your plan.

WHAT IF I AM TEMPORARILY UNABLE TO MAKE MY CHAPTER 13 PAYMENT?

If you are temporarily out of work, injured, or otherwise unable to make your payments required by the plan, CONTACT YOUR ATTORNEY IMMEDIATELY.  You are not allowed to skip payments as your case my be petitioned for dismissal.

CAN MY PAYMENT BE LOWERED OR MAY I SKIP OR POSTPONE A PAYMENT?

Your required plan payment cannot be lowered by the Trustee; the plan payment can be lowered only by a formal modification of your plan filed by your attorney. Also, the Trustee has no authority to allow you to skip or postpone a plan payment.  You will need to contact your attorney to accomplish this.

WHAT IF MY CREDITORS CONTINUE TO CONTACT ME?

All creditors that you listed on your Chapter 13 petition are under an Order for relief which prohibits them from contacting you in any way.  You will hear this referred to as the “Automatic Stay.”  If you get notices in the mail from your creditors, let your attorney know.  Delinquent notices need not cause any great concern, but if you get a more personal, direct contact from a creditor, such as a telephone call, a personal letter, a summons, or a visit in person, you should immediately inform them that you are in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, and give them your attorney’s name and address.  Under NO circumstances should you discuss the debt with them in any manner.  Be sure you tell your attorney the name of the person who contacted you.  Your attorney will want to follow up on such a call and the name of the person calling you is very important.


HOW WILL I KNOW WHO IS RECEIVING MY MONEY?

Most people are very interested in knowing how much they owe to their creditors and how much they have left to pay on their Chapter 13 plan.  If you want to find out how much each creditor is owed and what your payoff balance is on your Chapter 13 plan, review your annual reports.  These are mailed out each year, usually by the end of April.  These reports provide useful information for you and your attorney.  Another option is to write to the Trustee’s office and ask for a payoff on your case.  Any request for the amount required to payoff your plan must be in writing and mailed to our office.  It usually takes 7-10 days for you to receive a payoff from our office, and keep in mind that this payoff is only good for a limited time, because interest will continue to accrue on the debts you owe. For information on how to go online to look at your case history please refer to the 13Network page.

CLAIMS OF CREDITORS

In order to be paid by the Trustee, a creditor must file a proof of claim.  After expiration of the time to file claims, the Trustee will send you a “Notice of claims to be paid” report.  You and/or your attorney should review the claims filed in your case for accuracy.  Claims may be reviewed at the Bankruptcy Court or on the website.  If a creditor is listed incorrectly or the amount claimed does not appear correct, you should contact your attorney at once.  Unless your attorney objects, we will pay the amount on the claim, not the amount listed in your bankruptcy schedules.

CREDITOR NOT LISTED OR IMPORPERLY LISTED

Creditors not disclosed or improperly listed when you filed can cause quite a few problems.  There are two kinds of undisclosed creditors:  Those you owed money when you filed your petition but did not list are called “unlisted creditors.”  Those creditors whose claim was incurred after you filed are called “post-petition creditors.”  If you find an undisclosed creditor, you should let your attorney know the details immediately.  Likewise, if you fail to list the correct address for a creditor, they may not receive notice that you are in bankruptcy.  This could result in a debt surviving the bankruptcy or the failure to pay a secured creditor, who may still have a lien against your property at the conclusion of your case.  Post-petition creditors are your responsibility.  They will not be paid by the Trustee.  You must obtain permission from the Court in order to obtain post-petition debt.  If you feel that this is necessary, you should contact your attorney.

AMOUNT NECESSARY TO COMPLETE YOUR PLAN

You should be aware that, unless all creditors are being paid in full, you will be required to pay the greater of the BASE (monthly payment multiplied by the number of months provided for in the plan), or the amount necessary to pay the percentage to unsecured creditors provided for in the plan.  You must pay the total amount provided for in your plan, even if you are only proposing to pay back 1% of your unsecured creditors.  However, if only a few creditors file claims, then those few may end up receiving more than 1%, even up to 100% of their claims.  You do not get to quit making plan payments once your creditor receive the proposed percentage amount.  You must continue paying the Trustee until the base amount is paid in full, or until all creditors have been paid in full, whichever comes first.  As this concept can be confusing, we encourage you to review this with your attorney.  Hopefully, this will eliminate any misunderstanding about the amount necessary to complete your obligation.

WHAT IF I NEED TO SELL MY PROPERTY?  OR WHAT IF I NEED TO BUY A NEW CAR?

You cannot sell any of your property, including land, without Court approval.  If you want to sell any property, trade-in or sell a car, or sell or re-finance your home, first discuss it with your attorney.  He or she must file a Motion with the Court and get approval from the Bankruptcy Judge before you can do this.  Your Trustee does not have the authority to grant this Motion.  This is also true if you need to purchase or finance a new house or car.  You attorney must file a Motion with the Court and get approval from the Bankruptcy Judge before you can take this action.  The Court has Local Rules that require certain forms to be filed.  Only your attorney can do this for you.

WHY DO I HAVE TO HAVE MORE FINANCIAL COUNSELING? back to top

Before you filed for bankruptcy, you were required to take a Credit Counseling course through an approved agency, and file a Certificate with the Bankruptcy Court stating that you had completed this course.  In order to receive a discharge in your Chapter 13 case, the Bankruptcy Code requires that you take an additional course, called Debtor Education, from an approved agency.  This is similar to the one you took before you filed bankruptcy, but it is not quite the same thing.  You must file another Certificate with the court, stating that you have completed this additional course in Debtor Education/Financial Counseling, before you make your final payment under your Chapter 13 plan.  Your attorney can make your final payment under your Chapter 13 plan.  Your attorney can answer any questions you have about this additional financial counseling.

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I MAKE MY FINAL PAYMENT? back to top

Under Review.

WHEN MY PLAN IS COMPLETED, HOW WILL I GET MY CAR TITLE FROM MY LIEN HOLDER?
 

Most lien holders can be depended upon to promptly release their liens and turn over the titles they have retained. However, if more than 30 days lapse after the granting of your discharge and you still have not received the title, you may ask that we send the lien holder a letter asking that you be sent the title. If the title is still not forthcoming, you should contact your attorney for assistance.

I FILED A 36 MONTH PLAN.  MORE THAN 36 MONTHS HAVE PASSED.  WHY MUST I CONTINUE TO MAKE PAYMENTS?

It is not unusual for a plan to exceed the exact number of months it was originally scheduled to run.  There are several reasons for this other than compensation and interest paid.  It often happens that a creditor files for a larger amount than you thought you owed.  Further, interest rates may be changed, or you may have forgotten a creditor which must be added to your plan. 

It is most important to remember that the length is a close approximation at the beginning of your plan.  The length is dependent on many factors which may change during the course of your plan.  You may contact the Trustee's office if you have questions concerning your plan's length.

No plan is allowed to exceed sixty (60) months, the time limit for completion allowed by the Court.  If this situation exists in your original plan, the Trustee will object to confirmation of the plan.  If it occurs or is discovered after the plan has been confirmed, the Trustee will file a motion that the case be dismissed.  Your attorney can help you in resolving this problem.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO STOP MY PAYORDER ONCE MY CASE IS COMPLETE?

It is the Trustee's policy to cease payroll deductions as quickly as possible when a plan is completed.  This is done during the month when the Trustee reviews a list of cases that are completed or nearing completion.  As soon as all claims are paid in full, the Trustee will notify your employer to stop the payroll deduction. 

HOW DO I GET A PAYOFF ON MY CASE?

Please request a payoff in writing to our correspondence address, PO Box 8477 Columbia SC 29202.  Please give us 15 days to respond. We will not provide payoffs over the phone as this requires someone to thoroughly audit your case before a payoff can be determined. For information on how to go online to look at your case history please refer to the 13Network page.

MY CAR WAS TOTALED IN AN ACCIDENT, WHAT DO I DO?

Call you attorney and/or the trustee's office.