What is my chapter 13 bankruptcy case number?
At the time your Chapter 13 petition was filed, the Bankruptcy Clerk assigned your case a number. This number is very important. You will need your case number whenever you write to the Trustee’s office or make payments to the Trustee. The Notice of Commencement of Case mailed by the Bankruptcy Court provides your case number. An example of this case number is 15-10213-abl.
When will I have to appear in court? Where?
You will have to appear for a hearing at least once for a First Meeting of Creditors. This hearing is conducted by the Chapter 13 Trustee. The Bankruptcy Judge will NOT be present. In fact, the Judge is prohibited by statute from attending this hearing. The meeting will be held about 30 to 45 days after your case is filed. Your testimony at this hearing should not be lengthy. If you have any questions about your appearance at this hearing, you must talk to your attorney.
Click here for maps and information on the location for the meeting of creditors.
There may be other court hearings held in your case. If there are other court hearings, you will receive a Notice of Hearing by mail. ASK YOUR ATTORNEY if you need to attend a hearing.
I am in need of translation or interpretation services for a hearing. How do I set these up?
The United States Trustee offers interpretation services at no cost for those with hearing impairments or limited English proficiency.
If you have an attorney, (s)he must request a sign language interpreter, or assisted listening device for the meeting of creditors. Your attorney will contact the Chapter 13 Trustee and she will arrange for necessary services.
If you do not have an attorney, you may request a sign language interpreter, or assisted listening device for the meeting of creditors by contacting the Chapter 13 Trustee directly at (702) 853-0700 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.Your request must be made at least 5 days prior to your meeting of creditors.
'My friend went through bankruptcy and she says...'
You have probably already received or you 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 a rule to ASK YOUR ATTORNEY, and your attorney will provide you with an answer that applies to your special situation.
Where do I send my plan payments? How do I make my plan payments?
The Trustee accepts monthly payments, tax refunds, and all other funds required to be turned over to the trustee, in the following payment forms:
Online Payment System- You may transmit your plan payment electronically through e-Pay. This is an instant payment system created by our bank to provide a verifiable, trustworthy method for making plan payments.
To register for e-Pay click here.
To make a plan payment click here.
If you have questions about e-Pay, click here to visit ePay Frequently Asked Questions or contact the Chapter 13 Trustee at email@example.com.
Money Order or Cashier’s Check – If you do not have a bank account or do not have internet access, you may make your monthly plan payment by money order or cashier’s check only. The Trustee cannot accept cash, personal checks, business checks, traveler’s checks or other financial instruments. You must include on your money order or cashier’s check your:
- Case number
Mail your money order or cashier’s check to:
Kathleen A. Leavitt, Trustee
PO Box 1453
Memphis, TN 38101-1453
Who is my trustee? How do I contact her?
Your trustee is Kathleen A. Leavitt. You may send correspondence to her office at:
Kathleen A. Leavitt, Trustee
711 South 4th Street, Suite 101
Las Vegas, Nevada 89101.
DO NOT SEND PLAN PAYMENTS TO THIS ADDRESS.
This office is open from 9:00AM to 4:00PM. The phone number to your trustee’s office is (702) 853-0700. The fax number to the office is (702) 853-0713. You can email questions about your case to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please have your case number available when contacting the trustee’s office.
Why do I have a Trustee and what does she do?
Your Trustee is responsible for the administration of your case. The trustee administers approximately 3,000 cases. The Trustee’s duties and responsibilities are established by the Federal bankruptcy known as the U. S. Bankruptcy Code.
Her duties include:
- Reviewing your bankruptcy petition to ensure that it is complete and accurate.
- Determining your ability to make payments and if you Chapter 13 Plan will be successful
- Conducting the first meeting of creditors
- Appearing at other hearings in your case
- Monitoring the progress of you case
- Collecting your payment and paying creditors according to your plan
- Providing information about your case to those who are authorized to receive information
- Assisting you in the administration of your plan.
The Trustee cannot give you legal advice. If you have legal questions, you must CONTACT YOUR ATTORNEY.
How do I get information about my case?
You may view your plan payments and payments to your creditors on the National Data Center website. The National Data Center (NDC) will allow you and your attorney to gain access to your case information securely through the internet. The NDC cannot interpret the data you view on the website. If you have any questions about the data, please CONTACT YOUR ATTORNEY to discuss.
Click here to register. Then click the “Get Started” button.
If you have legal questions, you must CONTACT YOUR ATTORNEY.
If you are unable to find the desired information on the NDC website, you may contact the Trustee’s office directly.
What if I miss payments to the Trustee?
You must not miss any payments to the Trustee. When you file your Chapter 13, your creditors are prohibited from taking any action against you. In exchange for that protection, you must complete your obligation under the plan. One of those obligations is making your payments to the Trustee on time. If you miss payments, the Trustee cannot pay your creditors as called for by your plan and the Trustee is obligated to file papers with the Bankruptcy Court asking that your case be dismissed. If your case is dismissed, your creditor will be notified and may resume collection again you.
If you have a change in your circumstances such as an unforeseen emergency, you should notify your attorney immediately. Your attorney can re-evaluate your financial situation and, if appropriate, change your plan to reflect the different circumstances. This process can take several weeks, so be sure to contact your attorney immediately if you foresee any problem making your payments.
Can I use credit during my Chapter 13? What if my car breaks down and I need a new one?
Your Order Confirming Plan, signed by the Bankruptcy Judge, approves your plan which states that you may not incur any credit obligations exceeding $1,000 during the life of your plan without the Trustee’s written consent. The only time you can act without the Trustee’s written consent would be:
(1) serious emergency; or
(2) ordinary expenses for a business approved in your Plan.
Taking on any new credit obligations could jeopardize your Plan and failure to get permission could result in your case being dismissed. The Trustee must approve in writing any request for credit before you obligate yourself in any way. The most common credit obligation you may wish to incur is for the purchase of a car. Be sure to contact your attorney if you must buy a car or trade in your old one. Do not let a car dealer talk you into anything before your attorney has had a chance to get involved. The Trustee does approve requests to finance new vehicles, so long as you and your attorney follow the proper procedure. Click here for procedure.
What if I move while I’m in the bankruptcy?
If, for any reason, you change your address during the life of your plan, your attorney or you must file a “Change of Address” form (click here for form) with the Bankruptcy Court at:
Clerk, United States Bankruptcy Court
300 Las Vegas Blvd. South 4th Floor
Las Vegas, NV 89101
Please remember to update any new address and phone number with your attorney and the Bankruptcy Court as this will enable your Trustee to better administer your case in the event that she needs to contact you.
Can I sell my house while I’m in Chapter 13? My spouse and I have been talking about fixing up and selling our house. Is there anything special we must do?
Your Order Confirming Plan requires you to inform the Trustee and your creditors of the sale, lease, encumbrance or disposal by any method of any real or personal property with a value over $5,000. Your house will certainly qualify for that requirement. Informing the Trustee and creditors can be tricky and may have unexpected consequences. It is very important you learn and understand all the ramifications before you take any steps involving such property. You should contact your attorney well before you list or advertise your property and discuss what you want to do. Selling your property requires a court order, which usually takes about 30 days to obtain.
Remember: Selling or improving expensive property is tricky when you are in Chapter 13. Talk to your attorney first.
Can I pay off my plan early?
The Bankruptcy Code requires you to send all your disposable income to the Trustee for either 3 years or 5 years. Your disposable income is the amount left over after you subtract your reasonable and necessary living expenses from your net income. This amount is shown as your payments set out in your plan in Part I. 1.04.
If you are required to pay for 3 years: Sometimes your Plan will take more than 3 years in order to complete your obligations. There is, however, one exception to this 3-year rule. You may pay off your plan before 3 years if you pay all of your creditors 100%. If you can’t pay the full 100%, you must make your Plan payments for at least 3 years before you are eligible for discharge.
If you are required to pay for 5 years: You may pay off your plan before 5 years if you pay all of your creditors 100%.
Paying off your Plan early can be complicated and you should check with your attorney before you contact the Trustee.
Making larger payments to the Trustee is required if your income increases. When the Trustee receives unexpected extra payments, he will wonder where you got the extra money. If you want to make larger payments because you received a raise amounting to more than 10% of what you originally reported as your income, you should inform the Trustee of that fact when you begin sending additional money and you should inform your attorney. You will, however, still be required to make payments to the Trustee for 3 years unless you can pay all your creditors 100%. (See above).
Remember: Do not borrow money to make bigger payments to the Trustee hoping that you can complete your Plan early. You are in this to eliminate your debts and get a “fresh start”. Your best bet is to make your scheduled payments on time using your disposable income.
I think I’m almost done with my plan. How can I find out how much longer I have to pay?
If you think you are almost finished with your plan, you should verify the ending date. The most reliable source to determine the end of your case is the Trustee. In order for the Trustee to determine your plan end date, your case must be audited. This is an extensive review of your case and takes considerable time and attention.
Before requesting the end date of your plan, you should be familiar with your case. Review your confirmed plan and answer these questions:
- Is my plan a 36 month plan?If you are in a 36 month plan, do not request your plan end date before 30 months.
- Is my plan a 60 month plan?If you are in a 60 month plan, do not request your plan end date before 54 months.
- Have you made every plan payment required to this date?Your plan payments are listed in Part I. Sections 1.08 and 1.09 of your Plan.
- Have you turned over all tax refunds required?Tax refunds required to be paid to your plan are listed in Part I. Section 1.11 of your Plan.
- Have you turned over all required tax returns to the Trustee?You are required to turn over a copy of your tax returns, both personal and business (if applicable) for each year you are in bankruptcy. See Part V. Section 5.04(d) of your Plan.
You must contact the trustee in writing by email or by letter asking for your end date.
I'm about to make my last payment. I heard that I will get a discharge. What does that mean and how long does it take?
A discharge is your goal. It means you have completed the requirements under your Plan. Most, if not all, of your creditors you listed may not contact you about those debts. The discharge order is a document prepared by the Bankruptcy Court and signed by a judge. The Trustee must audit and review your case before the Bankruptcy Court will issue the discharge. This normally takes about 60 days – 120 days. During that period the Trustee double checks your payments and reviews your case to ensure that you have done everything required from his standpoint. Then the Trustee notifies you, your attorney, all of your creditors and the Court by filing a Trustee’s Chapter 13 Final Account and Report.
If you or the Trustee made payments to your mortgage creditor for your residence that you own, the Trustee must file a “Notice of Final Cure.” This notice requires your mortgage creditor to advise the Trustee and the Court whether you are now current with your mortgage payments. If you are not current with your mortgage at the end of your plan, you may face foreclosure after you receive your discharge.
Before you receive your Discharge, your attorney must file a final document called “Debtor’s Certificate of Compliance with Conditions Related to Entry of Chapter 13 Discharge.” You may be required to provide updated information to your attorney so he can complete and file this document. If you do not have an attorney, you must complete and file this document.
After all your hard work to complete your Plan, you should now enjoy what has been termed a “fresh start”. You should no longer need to endure the credit problems that caused you to seek Chapter 13 relief in the first place. Hopefully you have gained some knowledge and can work to avoid a similar credit crunch in the future.