Help your chapter 13 plan succeed

By Sam Calvert, Attorney At Law |

Blog by Sam Calvert, Attorney at Law

If you are in a chapter 13, here are some pointers that will help your case succeed.

1.You can make your plan payment several ways. If your trustee is Kyle Carlson, you can make your plan payments in several different ways. You can make make one-time or automatic monthly payments from your checking or savings account online. The link can be found at http://carlsonch13mn.com. There is a $1.50 service fee per transaction. You can also pay by phone (1-888-548-0787). You can mail paper payments to a lockbox in Chicago; however, the trustee will not take personal checks. You can also set up wage withholding through the court. Similar options are available if your trustee is Greg Burrell --you can find the link at https://www.ch13mn.com; however, Mr. Burrell's office will also set up automatic debits from your checking account.

2.You can track payments. You can sign up with the National Data Center (NDC) for free. Go to their website – www.ndc.org –and create an account and a password. You will need your bankruptcy case number, your trustee’s name, the last four digits of your Social Security number, and the list of creditors from your case. Once you have set up the NDC account you can check on your case. You can see if the trustee has received your payment, what creditors have been paid, and how much they have been paid. Did I mention that it is free?

3.Remember that the trustee wants copies of your tax return every year. Every spring the trustee will want a copy of your tax returns, state and federal. This is for two reasons: a) the plan will call for you to give the trustee refunds over $1,200.00 for a single person or $2,000.00 for a couple. (This does not include Earned Income Credit or Working Family Credit); b) the trustee wants to know if your income has gone up a lot. If it has increased, the trustee may ask the court to increase your plan payment. We can argue with the trustee that your expenses have eaten up the increase.

4.Let me know about changes. If your income falls or your expenses increase, we may be able to amend your plan. Importantly, if you can’t make your plan payments, call me. We may be able to amend the plan. It is better to amend the plan rather than let the roof cave in on you and have the case be dismissed.

5.Keep track of your house payments and your plan payments! If you miss your mortgage payments, the mortgage company will bring a “motion for relief from stay” to ask the court to permit the mortgage company to foreclose on your house. They will add $1,000 or so to your debt, so insult to injury. It is really tough when you say you have made your payments but the mortgage company says you haven’t. Likewise, if the trustee says you have missed payments the trustee will bring a motion to dismiss your case. So – keep careful track of your payments so we can show the mortgage company or the trustee that you are current.

6.Keep your contact information current. A chapter 13 plan lasts at least three years, often going to five years. Stuff happens and we may need to get in touch with you. And the court and trustee need to be able to get in touch with you. So, if you move, if you change email addresses, if you change phone numbers, let me know! You can reach me at 320-252-4473.

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