Chapter 13 Frequently Asked Questions


Below you will find many of the most commonly asked questions regarding a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.  Click each question below to view the answer.  All questions and answers below are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice from the Law Office of James C. Herring & Associates.  If after reading the frequently asked questions below, your questions are not answered, please contact us at by phone (254) 399-9977 or Email us for more Info.   Also, check out the Chapter 7 FAQ


Table of Contents

General/Before Filing

  1. What is the Difference between a chapter 13 and a chapter 7 bankruptcy?

  2. Who will know about it?

  3. Will filing affect my job?

  4. Will the bankruptcy appear on my credit report? If so when will it appear?

  5. Someone else cosigned on a debt with me, how will this affect him?

  6. Who contacts my creditors?

  7. What debts do I have to continue paying for?

  8. Can my creditors object to the plan?

  9. Where can I find out how much I how the IRS or get past tax returns?

  10. Can I leave some debts and assets out of the plan?

After Filing

  1. What is a 341 meeting?

  2. When is the 341 meeting?

  3. Can I reschedule my 341 meeting?

  4. Where is the 341 meeting?

  5. What documents do I need to bring to the 341 meeting?

  6. Who will be at the 341 meeting?

  7. What will happen at the 341 meeting?

  8. When is my 1st payment due?

  9. Who is the Trustee and what is his job?

  10. Who do I make my payments to?

  11. What if I cannot make all of my monthly payment to the Trustee?

  12. What if I can afford to make more than my normal monthly payment?

  13. Can I still lose my house or car?

  14. What if I failed to list a creditor?

  15. What is the "automatic stay" and why is it important?

  16. What is a proof of claim and why are creditors sending it to me?

  17. My creditors are still calling me and sending me bills, what should I do?

  18. Why do I need to put my questions in writing?

Rebuilding/Reestablishing Credit

  1. How fast can I start to rebuild my credit?

  2. How can I rebuild my credit?

  3. How long will it be until I can get a new house or car?

  4. How long will this bankruptcy stay on my credit report?

 


What is the difference between a chapter 13 and chapter 7 bankruptcy?

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharges all dischargeable debts.  These often include credit card debt, old tax debts, and other unsecured debts.  A Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows the debtor to reorganize their debts.  A repayment plan is established and payments are made to the trustee's office for 36 to 60 months.  The advantage of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is that it allows debtors to include back house payments, taxes, and even cars in the plan.  Unsecured debts, such as credit cards, are repaid a portion of the amount owed to them.    

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Who contacts my creditors?

After we file your petition, we notice (contact) all of your creditors.  

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What debts do I have to continue paying for?

Any debt that is not being paid through the the Chapter 13 bankruptcy must be paid direct.  These often include your current house payment (many times your back house payments are included in the consolidation) and sometimes car payments.  Check with your attorney to make sure you are aware of which payments you are responsible for.  Also, you must continue to pay for normal expenses such as food, insurance, utilities, etc. 

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Can my creditors object to the plan?

In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the creditors cannot object to the discharge of debts upon the completion of payments.  However, creditors can object to confirmation of the repayment plan.  Contact our office if you have questions or think that a creditor has objected.

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Where can I find out how much I owe the IRS or get past tax returns?

If you are missing needed tax returns you can obtain IRS transcripts for little or no charge.  These can be used instead of tax returns.  Transcripts can be obtained by mail by calling the IRS at (800) 829-1040.  This will take 10-14 days to receive these documents by mail.

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Can I leave some debts and assets out of the plan?

No.  You must list all debts and assets in the plan.  This does not mean that you will have any of your possessions taken.  In fact very few people lose any of their possessions.  Nor does it mean that you will be paying all of your debts through the consolidation, debts such as a home, or sometimes a car are often paid directly to the creditor.  Check with your attorney if you are not certain as to which debts you are paying direct.

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Who will know about it?

Though filing a bankruptcy is public information, unless you are a public figure, it is unlikely that anyone except your creditors and those that you tell will know.  Currently in McLennan county, bankruptcies are not listed on the internet, newspaper, or television. 

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Will filing affect my job?

No. Law prohibits governmental units and private companies from discriminating against you because you filed a bankruptcy petition or because you failed to pay a dischargeable debt.

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What is a 341 meeting?

The 341 is a meeting of creditors, though few ever actually show.  This meeting allows creditors to object to the bankruptcy.  If they do attend this meeting, your attorney will assist you in dealing with them. 

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When is the 341 meeting?

In a Chapter 13, your 341 meeting is typically held on a Monday about 30 days after your case is filed.   You will get notice of it in mail from the Trustee's office, as well as from your attorney's office.

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Where is the 341 meeting?

The 341 meeting is held at the Federal Court House.   

The Waco Trustees' office is located at:  

U.S. Bankruptcy Court
800 Franklin, Ste. 170
Waco, TX 76701
map
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What documents do I need to bring to the 341 meeting?

You will need to bring your driver's license and social security card.  The trustee will send notice asking you to bring a three pay stubs and the last two years of tax returns.  You should have turned in two tax returns and three pay stubs to us.  Unless you received notice from our law office that we still need some of the documents, you will not need to bring anything to the meeting.

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Who will be at the 341 meeting?

In addition to yourself, and spouse if co-filing, an attorney from our office and a Trustee will be present.  Creditors are also welcome at this meeting, but few ever show.

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What will happen at the 341 meeting?

Appear at the meeting 15 minutes before your appointment time.  Your attorney will go over the questions you will be asked by the trustee.  You will be called into an adjoining room, accompanied by your attorney, where the trustee will swear you in, confirm your identity, social security number, and ask 10-15 yes or no questions.  The trustee will also discuss your plan.  Chapter 13 clients will also be expected to attend a consumer counseling session from 12:30-3:00PM.

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When is my 1st payment due?

Your first payment is due exactly 30 days after we file your case.  You must make this payment to the the Trustee's office regardless of whether your 341 meeting has taken place.  Make sure you include your case number on your money order or cashier's check.  You only need to make this payment if your pay order has not yet taken effect.  

For Waco Cases, send your payments to: 

Ray Hendren, Chapter 13 Trustee
PO Box 807
San Antonio, TX 78293-0807
 
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Who do I make my payments to?

Make your payments payable to Ray Hendren, Chapter 13 Trustee and include your case number on the money order or cashier's check.  

For Waco Cases, send your payments to: 

Ray Hendren, Chapter 13 Trustee
PO Box 807
San Antonio, TX 78293-0807
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What if I cannot make all of my monthly payments to the Trustee?

It is very important that you do everything in your power to make your monthly payments on time.  Your first payment is due 30 days after we file your case.  Failure to make this first payment is grounds for dismissal of your case, so be sure to make your first payment on time.   If for some reason you cannot make your regular payment, let our office know.  There are certain remedies our office maybe able to take to avoid dismissal of your case, but only if you let us know before the payment is missed.

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Who is the Trustee and what is his job?

The Waco chapter 13 Trustee is Ray Hendren.  His job is to collect your money and distribute it and see that creditors are treated fairly in this process.

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What if I can afford to make more than my normal monthly payment?

It is to your benefit to pay more.  The more you pay the quicker you will be done with the consolidation.  Which means the sooner you will be out from under the oversight of the Trustee's office.  Your consolidation will be for 36 and 60 months, but if you pay more than required, you can be done much sooner.

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Can I still lose my house or car?

Yes, when you file a bankruptcy you sought protection from your creditors by the bankruptcy court.  You must continue to make payments on your house and car, or any debt not included in the consolidation.  If you do not, then your creditors can ask court to give them relief so they can pursue your home and/or car.   If the car is included in your consolidation, and you are making your consolidation payments, then the only way a creditor can get the car is if you let your insurance lapse.  

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What if I failed to list a creditor?

If you fail to list a creditor, you must give us the name and address of that creditor and we will amend your plan.   The court does charge $20 to add creditors, so be prepared to pay this expense when you give the creditor information to us.

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Can I reschedule my 341 meeting?

No. However if it is an emergency, then the 341 can be rescheduled one time as long as you give the attorney a written reason why you can not attend. This written notice must be given to our office before your scheduled 341 meeting.  The reason will be given to the trustee when your first hearing is called. 

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Why do I need to put my questions in writing?

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a very complicated process and generally attorneys do not like to give legal advice over the phone.  Having your question in writing allows us to refer to it when we answer it.  This enables us to be sure to answer it correctly and in full.  It also protects the attorney and yourself by having a copy of the question and the answer in case of a misunderstanding.  To email us a question, click here.

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What is the "automatic stay" and why is it important?

When you file a bankruptcy, the bankruptcy court gives you the protection of the automatic stay.  This is a mechanism that does not allow any creditor to pursue any of the debts that you owe them or seize your property  There are a few exceptions such as criminal activities.  The automatic stay makes it so you can go through this process with out being harassed by creditors.  If we have filed your case and you are still being harassed (being sent bills, receiving phone calls, etc.), write down who (the person, company, time, etc.), is contacting you and bring that information to our office.  

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My creditors are still calling me and sending me bills, what should I do?

Please note that it typically takes the creditors 3-4 weeks after we file your case before the they have processed the notice that we send them.  If we have filed your case and you are still being harassed ( being sent bills, receiving phone calls, etc.) several weeks after your filing, write down who (the person, company, time, etc.), is contacting you and bring that information to our office.  Your creditors may be in violation of the automatic stay.  

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What is a proof of claim and why are creditors sending it to me?

A proof of claim is a document that every creditor must provide to the court.  It shows the amount they claim you owe. They send a copy to court, to you and to our office.  Our office will review them and take any action necessary.  When you receive a Proof of Claim it is best to retain them until the process is complete.  You do not have to send them to us or contact us when you receive them, as we are also sent a copy and are taking the necessary steps to deal with them.

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How fast can I start to rebuild my credit?

You can start to rebuild you credit immediately.  Most important is that you make your Chapter 13 payment every month.  Additionally, make sure that all other creditors, such as your house, car, and any other creditor, not in the consolidation are reporting your timely payments to the credit bureaus.  Some apartments and utilities will even report payments to the credit bureaus.  Remember, any new debt must be approved by the Trustee's office.  Contact our office if you are considering incurring any new debt.

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How can I rebuild my credit?

Most important is that you make your Chapter 13 payment every month.  In addition to this, make sure that all of your other creditors, such as your house, car, and any other creditor, not in the plan are reporting your timely payments to the credit bureaus.  Some apartments and utilities will even report payments to the credit bureaus.  Remember, any new debt incurred while you are within the bankruptcy process must be approved by the Trustee's office.  Contact our office if you are considering incurring any new debt.

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How long will it be until I can get a new house or car?

Generally, you can qualify for a new house or car within a year or so.  This depends on several things, such as current income, payment history, down payments, etc.  Remember, any new debt incurred while you are within the bankruptcy process must be approved by the Trustee's office.  Contact our office if you are considering incurring any new debt.

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Will the bankruptcy appear on my credit report? If so when will it appear?

Yes, it will appear on your credit report. When it appears depends on the credit companies and credit bureaus.  Typically, it appears on your credit report, in some manner, between one and three months after you file.

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Someone else cosigned with me on a debt, how will this affect him?

If the debt is a dischargeable (credit card, repossession, etc.), then you will not have to pay it. Your co-signer will become primarily responsible for this debt.  Though the creditor may not pursue the co-signer immediately, they may in the future.  A special automatic stay protects certain co-signers during the bankruptcy proceeding.

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How long will this bankruptcy stay on my credit report?

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy will typically stay on your credit report for about seven years.

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Not Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

The information you obtain on this site is not legal advice, nor is it intended to be legal advice.  You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. 

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