You have just filed a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. This is one method under the Bankruptcy Code to obtain relief from your creditors. This allows you to propose a fair plan to pay back your creditors. This also allows you to keep most of your property during the time you are paying your creditors back. It may permit you to modify some of your contract payments, interest rates and lengths of obligations to your creditors. In general, creditors cannot take action against you until you have been to court and the Judge allows the creditors to take action against you.
In a Chapter 13 you agree to pay a portion of your income into your plan (through the Trustees Office) over a period of 36-60 months. These funds are used to pay creditors money you owe them. This is a long-term commitment. Your decision to accept responsibility of repaying what is owed is to be congratulated. You must understand, however, the requirements of Chapter 13 so that you can successfully complete your plan. Your attorney is responsible for advising you during your plan. You do not have to be represented by an attorney. It is strongly recommended, however, that you hire an attorney who is knowledgeable in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy cases.
You probably have a lot of questions. We provide this information to you to introduce you to some of the important concepts and to answer common questions that arise in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy cases. However, the Trustee and staff are prohibited by law from giving you legal advice. Your attorney is your source for answers or advice you need on any specific concerns or questions regarding your particular situation.
The most important first step in a successful Chapter 13 case is to develop with your attorney an honest and straightforward plan. During this process you must develop a budget for your living expenses. Remember, sticking with that budget is key to completing your plan and getting the fresh start you are seeking. Make your plan payments to the Chapter 13 Trustee on time. PAYMENTS MUST BE MADE BY TFS ELECTRONIC FUND TRANSFER OR MADE BY MONEY ORDER OR CASHIERS CHECK payable to Chapter 13 Trustee and mailed to:
Chapter 13 Trustee
P.O. Box 730
Memphis, TN 38101-0730
The number one reason that Chapter 13 cases are not successful is the failure to make timely and adequate plan payments to the Trustees Office.
Pay attention to what is happening in your case. Remember, you must open your mail, read it and react to it immediately. Mail from your attorney, the Bankruptcy Court, creditors and the Trustees Office is important and must be read immediately upon receipt. Frequently there are deadlines contained in this correspondence and your attorney cannot represent you adequately if you do not read the mail received and contact your attorney as soon as is reasonably possible. Remember, if you dont understand something that is happening in your case, contact your attorney. Open lines of communication with your attorney will help you complete your case on time. If there are important events that occur in your life, remember to tell your attorney. You can do this in writing or by telephone or as your attorney otherwise advises you. Communication is a key to your success.
The Trustees Office is available to help you as well. Your successful completion of your Chapter 13 case is the goal of the Trustees Office. While the Trustee and staff may not give you legal advice, we will help you in any way possible.