Frequently Asked Questions
General Questions, Payment Questions and Chapter 13 Plan Questions
The Frequently Asked Questions section is divided into three categories: General Questions, Payment Questions, and Chapter 13 Plan Questions. Click on any question below to view the relevant answer.
Answer: The Trustee’s office accepts calls Monday through Thursday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. and Friday between 9 a.m. and Noon. Please have your case number handy.
For general questions about your case, enter extension 46 when prompted by our phone system.
For questions regarding notice of dismissal, stay on the line until the Operator answers and then ask to speak to the Dismissal Clerk. You will be asked for your case number.Please do not think that you need to speak with the Trustee. Our staff is familiar with the policies and guidelines in Chapter 13 and each individual is well qualified to discuss your problems or questions. Remember that the Trustee and the Trustee’s staff cannot give legal advice. Please direct all legal questions to your attorney.
Answer: You must contact your attorney immediately if your addresses changes. Your attorney will then file a notice of address change with the Court.
Answer: When your Chapter 13 Petition was filed, the court assigned a case number. This number is very important. ALWAYS write this number on all payments and correspondence and have the number handy when you call the Trustee’s office.
Answer: The Trustee collects a percentage fee from all payments received under the plan in order to administer your bankruptcy case. This fee is set by the United States Attorney General, and cannot exceed 10%. The Trustee’s administration of bankruptcy cases is supervised by the United States Department of Justice – Office of the United States Trustee.
Answer: If you have a change in employment, notify your attorney, the Bankruptcy Court and the Trustee’s office immediately. You will need to provide the name and address of your new employer and will need to file a new wage order and budget for a change in income and/or expenses. This may also change the amount of your plan payment.
Answer: All Chapter 13 debtors are required to make monthly payments to the Trustee’s Office no later than 30 days after the filing date of the bankruptcy petition.
Failure to make adequate and timely payments may result in your case being dismissed.
Answer: NO. Hand delivered payments are NOT accepted at the Trustee’s office, at 341 meetings or at confirmation any hearings.
Answer: You are strongly urged to keep copies of all payments to the Trustee. In case of a discrepancy, you would need to provide:
- Date of the missing payment
- Amount of the payment
- Money Order or Cashier’s Check number
If after receiving this information we still cannot locate the payment in our records, we would ask you to put a trace on the payment. You would need to contact the place of business where you purchased the money order or cashier’s check and ask them to trace the payment. A trace would prove where the money was deposited, like the endorsement on a canceled check.
Answer: If you wish to increase the monthly payment to the Trustee, you must contact your attorney.
Your plan payment will be made by payroll deduction from your employer, unless the Court grants a waiver. With this method of payment, your attorney prepares a Wage Order which tells your employer how much to deduct from your paycheck and where to send to deducted funds.
BE ADVISED: It can take several pay periods for the automatic deductions to go into effect. YOU need to make direct payments until your employer begins sending the payments to the Trustee.
If you are making direct payments to the Trustee’s Office, the following methods of payment are available:
TFS – TFS is a private epay service not affiliated with this office. For fees that are comparable to the cost of checks or money orders, TFS enables qualified Chapter 13 debtors to make their plan payments by way of a secure electronic withdrawal directly from the debtor’s bank account.
Bill Pay service offered by your bank. Please use the following for payee name and address:
YVONNE V. VALDEZ, TRUSTEE
P.O. BOX 703
MEMPHIS, TN 38101-0703
When asked for your account number, please use your case number, for example, 14-30001 and your name.
Be sure to include your CASE NUMBER and NAME directly on your payment. Without this information your payment cannot be credited to your case.
Answer: If you send direct payments, be sure to include your CASE NUMBER and ADDRESS directly on your payment. Please write or print legibly. This information is necessary to ensure that your payment is credited to YOUR account.
Chapter 13 Plan Questions
Answer: The Chapter 13 plan is your proposal for dealing with your creditors within the guidelines of the bankruptcy code. It is your attorney’s job to assemble all the required information from you and develop a feasible plan in accordance with your budget and the amount of your debt. It is your job to provide your attorney with complete and accurate information and to make sure the documents filed on your behalf reflect that information.
Answer: The length of your plan is determined by your Applicable Commitment Period and can vary between 36-84 months depending on certain criteria. Your attorney can better explain the criteria to determine which “period” you qualify for. If you wish to payoff your case in less than 36 months, you would be required to pay all your creditors in full.
It is the Trustee’s job to review your plan as well as all of the documents provided to the Trustee and all documents filed with the Court before making a recommendation to the Court.
The trustee must ensure the plan meets the requirements of Sections 1322 and 1325 of the Bankruptcy Code, that you have complied with your duties as a Debtor per Section 521 of the Bankruptcy Code and the Southern District of Texas Bankruptcy Local Rules and that your plan payments are current.
Answer: Confirmation of your plan means the Court has approved your proposal for payment and has signed an order which binds you and your creditors to the terms of your plan. You will receive a copy of the Confirmation Order. The amount you must pay is set out in paragraph four of your plan. In many cases more than one plan payment amount is listed. This means your plan payment will change on the months indicated. You should review your plan carefully and consult your attorney if you do not understand it. In the event your financial circumstances change, you will need to consult your attorney about the possibility of modifying your plan to change your plan payments.