Bankruptcy, Chapter 13, Chapter 7

What to Expect at Your Meeting with Creditors

WHAT TO EXPECT AT YOUR 341 MEETING (MEETING OF CREDITORS)

A. Where to go: If your case was filed in the Columbia region, your hearing will be at the Strom Thurmond Building (5th Floor) located at 1835 Assembly Street.
B. What time to arrive: Please arrive at least 30 minutes early. There may be very long waiting lines to get through security at the Strom Thurmond Building, and parking can also be challenging.
C. Documents to bring: driver’s license and social security card (no copies). If your trustee is Joy Goodwin, you will need to bring your last pay stub and bank statements that include the date your case was filed for each one of your bank accounts open at the time the case was filed.
D. Who will be there? Most likely the only people there will be the Trustee, other attorneys, other filers, and me. However, creditors and the United States Trustee’s office can come and ask questions.
E. What questions are asked at the Meeting of Creditors? It depends on whether you file for Chapter 13 or Chapter 7, and it also depends on what trustee is appointed to your case. However, I have listed below a non-exhaustive list of common questions. Please be advised that you will be placed under oath prior to giving your testimony.
QUESTIONS THE TRUSTEE MAY ASK INCLUDE, BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO:

• Trustee will confirm your address and social security number;
• Trustee may ask how much you paid for your house and when;
• Trustee may ask what you think the house is worth and how you came up with that valuation. We will cover this in our appointments. However, never say “county tax appraisal” as your only source. When we fill out your bankruptcy schedules, w will review multiple sources and find the value you honestly believe you could get if you were to sell the property today.
• Trustee may ask if you have any domestic support obligations;
• Trustee may ask if you have filed all your tax returns from prior years;
• Trustee may ask if have transferred, sold, or given away any property, land, or any assets to anyone in the last 6 years;
• Trustee may ask if you have received any money from any source in the last 6 months other than from your employer;
• Trustee may ask if you have taken out a loan or withdrawal from your 401(k) in the last 6 months;
• Trustee may confirm your employer address;
• Trustee may ask questions about any of your expenses;
• Trustee may ask if your car or house is insured;
• Trustee may ask specific questions concerning your assets;
• Trustee may ask how you determined the valuation of your car;
• Trustee may ask if anyone owes you money;
• Trustee may ask how much you earn each week.

Chapter 13 FAQ

Chapter 13 FAQ

Melnyk Law Firm, P.C.

7436 Broad River Rd 803-732-7800
Building 1, Suite 110 803-732-0219 FAX
Irmo, SC 29063 david@melnyklawfirm.com

Postal Address:
P.O. Box 687
Irmo, SC 29063

Chapter 13 FAQ

1. When does my Trustee payment begin?
2. When does my mortgage payment begin?
3. Where do I send my mortgage payment?
4. My mortgage company isn’t sending me statements!
5. It has been one months since I filed, and Trustee payments have not begun coming out yet!
6. What is the Trustee Hearing?
7. What if I cannot attend the Hearing?
8. What do I bring to the Hearing?
9. What will the Trustee ask?
10. Why did my Chapter 13 payment increase?
11. What if my Chapter 13 payment increases before the Confirmation Hearing?
12. Do I continue making my car payments?
13. I am still getting calls from creditors. What do I do?
14. Do I attend the Confirmation Hearing? What is it?
15. What do I do if I change jobs?
16. Can I pay my Plan off early?
17. How can I track my Trustee payments?
18. Is it possible to convert a Chapter 13 to a Chapter 7?
19. What happens if I fall behind on my Trustee payments?
20. Can I petition the Trustee to have my payments stopped for a few months?
21. What happens if my Chapter 13 has been dismissed?
22. I need a loan. What do I do?
23. My child support arrearages are in the Plan. Do I need to continue making payments?
24. My car is in the Plan. When do I get the car title?
25. What happens if I fall behind on my mortgage payments while I am in a Chapter 13 plan?

1. When does my Trustee payment begin?
Your Trustee payments will begin roughly 3-4 weeks after you file. It is your responsibility to make sure the payments are being deducted from your pay stub. If they are not, please call the case administrator handling your case immediately.

2. When does my mortgage payment begin?
The “resumption date” of your mortgage payment is listed on your Chapter 13 plan. Generally it is due the first of the next month if filed before the 16th. If filed on the 16th or afterwards, it is due the first of the following month.

3. Where do I send my mortgage payment?
Send your mortgage payment to the same address you have been making payments unless told otherwise. I recommend for at least the first few months you send your payments certified mail in case there is some dispute.

4. My mortgage company isn’t sending me statements!
This is a common complaint. However, you are still responsible for making your payments on time. Many times the mortgage company will resume sending statements if you send them a letter asking them to do so.

5. It has been one months since I filed, and Trustee payments have not begun coming out yet!
You are still responsible for getting your payments in, even if they are not yet being deducted from your pay. Please call the Trustee’s administrator handling your case immediately!

6. What is the Trustee Hearing?
The Trustee Hearing (also known as the 341 Meeting of Creditors) is where the Trustee handling your case asks certain questions to make sure you qualify for a Chapter 13 and to question you about possible assets. The Hearing also allows creditors to come and ask questions, although creditors often do not come. Please note that enclosed is a list of possible questions the Trustee might ask.

7. What if I cannot attend the Hearing?
Call me immediately! Your case may be dismissed if you miss your Hearing. If I know in advance, I may be able to obtain another hearing date.

 

8. What do I bring to the Hearing?
Please bring your social security card and driver’s license.

9. What will the Trustee ask?
Please look at the enclosed handout.

10. Why did my Chapter 13 payment increase?
Please remember that the initial Plan submitted is only a proposal and an estimate of what the Plan payment will be. Many things can increase the Plan payment including: higher than expected mortgage arrearages, tax arrearages, and objections from car lien holders.

11. What if my Chapter 13 payment increases before the Confirmation Hearing?
Please note that you are responsible for all payments even if your Chapter 13 Plan goes up before confirmation. So, if your plan goes up $15.00 before confirmation, you are responsible for making the increased payment for all the months leading up to the confirmation.

12. Do I continue making my car payments?
It depends on whether your car payment is in the Plan. Most likely it is – so don’t make it! If you are unsure, look at your Plan or ask!

13. I am still getting calls from creditors. What do I do?
Please set pencil and paper beside the phone after filing. Do not speak to creditors unless they provide you their name, who they work for, and their phone number. Then give them the bankruptcy case number and my information. If they call you again, please contact me.

14. Do I attend the Confirmation Hearing? What is it?
Most likely not. I will tell you if you need to attend.

15. What do I do if I change jobs?
Call the Trustee administrator handling your case with the new job address.

16. Can I pay my Plan off early?
DO NOT TRY TO PAY OFF EARLY WITHOUT SPEAKING WITH ME FIRST!

17. How can I track my Trustee payments?
You can track your payments on the internet. Simply go to 13network.com.

18. Is it possible to convert a Chapter 13 to a Chapter 7?

Yes. Sometimes it is not pratical to stay in a Chapter 13. Feel free to ask me if you have questions.

19. What happens if I fall behind on my Trustee payments?
The Trustee usually will send a letter to you stating that your case will be dismissed within twenty (20) days if payments are late and you do not call to arrange payments.

20. Can I petition the Trustee to have my payments stopped for a few months?
Yes. This is called a Moratorium of payments. The trustee usually wants you to be in a Chapter 13 for at least a year before filing a motion. The Moratorium of payments usually can last for 1 to 3 months to assist you while you try to find new employment.

21. What happens if my Chapter 13 has been dismissed?
Please call me. I may have options for you such as filing a Motion to Reconsider.

22. I need a loan. What do I do?
Please call me first.

23. My child support arrearages are in the Plan. Do I need to continue making payments?
Absolutely!

24. My car is in the Plan. When do I get the car title?
After you finish the Plan, the finance company will send you your title.

25. What happens if I fall behind on my mortgage payments while I am in a Chapter 13 plan?
Most likely I will be able to object to the creditor’s Motion to life the automatic stay. In most cases we can reach an agreement to have you catch up over a six month period.

Bankruptcy, Chapter 13

Will Bankruptcy Stop Child Support Garnishment?

Are your wages currently being garnished because you are behind in your child support?  Have you been served with paperwork to go to court to explain why you are behind in your child support?  Did you know that a South Carolina Family Court Judge can put you in jail for a very long time just because you are behind on your child support?  A Judge may put you in jail even if you believe that you cannot afford to pay what you owe.  Filing bankruptcy may be able to help.

Filing bankruptcy will not relieve you of your responsibility to pay child support.  Most of my clients who owe child support are more than willing to pay it for the benefit of their children but their circumstances caused them to fall behind.  A Chapter 13 bankruptcy will help solve the problem.  The Bankruptcy will allow you up to 5 years to make monthly payments to catch up the amount that you are behind.  Unless a Family Court Judge orders otherwise, you must continue (or in some cases resume) making your regular monthly child support payment.  Bankruptcy law also requires that you remain current with your child support payments while your bankruptcy case is pending.

Once the bankruptcy case is filed you do not need to worry about a Family Court Judge throwing you in jail for the back child support that is owed when the case is filed, nor do you need to worry about back child support being deducted from your paycheck.  However, I do highly recommend that where possible you request that both your current child support payment and your bankruptcy payment be deducted from your pay.

If you feel as though your child support payment is excessive or if your income level has decreased since your child support was set please let me know as it may be wise to file an action to lower your payment in addition to the bankruptcy filing.

-written by Columbia Bankruptcy Attorney David Melnyk

Bankruptcy, Chapter 13, Creditor Harrassment

Will Bankruptcy Save My Car From Repossession?

For some people a vehicle is no more than a means to get from here to there, for others a vehicle is a very meaningful posession and almost a part of the family.  For most, a vehicle is also a large monthly expense, second only to rent or mortgage payment.  In almost ever case, losing a car to repossession would have a major impact on a person’s life.  A question I frequently hear is “Will bankruptcy save my car from repossession?”  The answer  in most cases is yes.

 

The type of loan that most of us have on our vehicle is a purchase money security interest loan.  That means that the money that was loaned to you was used directly to purchase the vehicle.   Repayment of the loan is usually with a fixed interest rate for as long as 72 months.  A second type of car loan is called a title loan.  This loan requires that you have a clear title (no other loans) on your vehicle and is normally a short term loan with a very high interest rate.  Filing a bankruptcy can save the car regardless of the type of loan.

 

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is used to refinance your car at the bankruptcy interest rate (currently 5.25%) for up to five years.  This includes any amount that you might be behind on with your loan.  Your car payment will be part of your Chapter 13 bankruptcy payment.  You will no longer pay the lender directly for the loan.  As long as you make all of your required bankruptcy payments your car will be safe from repossession.  In addition, the lender will no longer be allowed to contact you (ever again) about the loan.

Our vehicles (cars, trucks, motorcycles) are very important to us for a large range of reasons.  Filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is an effective means of preventing the lender from repossession the vehicle.

Bankruptcy, Chapter 13

Help! My Car Has Been Repossesed!

Written by Columbia Bankruptcy Attorney David Melnyk

In the back of your mind you knew this morning was coming.  Every night for the the past 2 months you have gone to bed wondering whether or not your car would be there in the morning.  You woke up today, looked outside, and it was gone.  W

When you purchased the vehicle you thought you could make the loan payment work.  You were so excited to have the transportation that you needed and proud that you received the financing for it.  Now you are struck with the very real problems of getting your kids to school and getting yourself to work.  You had been communicating with the finance company for months about your struggles to make the payments but they were ultimately unwilling to offer repayment terms you could afford to catch up on the amount you were behind.  You do have options to get your car back!

One option to take possession of your vehicle is to file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.  Once I file  Chapter 13 bankruptcy for you the loan company must return the vehicle to you.  There are some very important conditions that must, however, be met.  First of all the car must not have been already sold at auction.  Once this happens it is too late to get it back.  Secondly, you must be able to prove that you have current insurance on the vehicle.  Most insurance companies will provide you with two insurance cards.  Keep one in your card and the other in your purse/wallet.  You must also be able to show that you can afford to pay for the car as part of your bankruptcy.

In most cases once the above conditions have been met the finance company will make arrangements for the return of your vehicle within 24 hours.  If you have any questions about the process of filing a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy to regain possession of your vehicle please contact me for a free consultation.