During the Bankruptcy Process

New Means Testing Income Information Released Today

2013 October 31 by jesse

The U.S. Trustee’s office released new median income figures for means testing today.  The following table provides median family income data for Colorado.   These median income figures will apply to all bankruptcy cases filed in Colorado after November 15, 2013.

Family Size
State 1 2 3 4
Colorado $50,242 $65,701 $71,138 $83,330
Add $8,100 for each individual in excess of 4.

To see information for all 50 states you can visit the US Trustee’s web site: http://www.justice.gov/ust/eo/bapcpa/20131115/bci_data/median_income_table.htm

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Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Payments Can Be Made On-Line

2013 October 23 by jesse

For years my Chapter 13 bankruptcy clients have asked if they can pay their monthly chapter 13 plan payments on-line.   The answer has been “no” … until now!

If you are in a chapter 13 bankruptcy case in Colorado and your bankruptcy trustee is Douglas B. Keil, you can now make your monthly trustee payment over the internet.  Go to www.ndc.org to sign up.     Douglas Keil is the chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee for most cases in the southern part of the Denver Colorado metro area and the southern part of the state.

Unfortunately, Sally Zeman, the other Chapter 13 Trsutee, does not presently offer an option to pay your chapter 13 payments on-line.

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Access Your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Case Online

2013 September 18 by jesse

If you filed bankruptcy in Colorado and your chapter 13 trustee is Doug Kiel, then you can access information about your bankruptcy case, including plan payments, on-line by setting up a free account at www.13datacenter.com This site lets you view the details of your Chapter 13 Case any time.  I highly recommend it.

Have the following information on hand when you sign up:

  • Your Chapter 13 Case number
  • Name of Chapter 13 Trustee
  • Your Social Security Number
  • Your current address

I recommend that all my clients who have Doug Kiel as their trustee create an account on this site.

If your trustee is Sally Zeman, she does not have a web site you can access to review your case and payment history.  However, you can always call her office at 303-830-1971 and speak with her knowledgeable and helpful staff.

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Questions you will be asked at a Chapter 13 Meeting of Creditors in Colorado

2013 August 30 by jesse

I have attended hundreds of meetings with the bankruptcy trustee with my clients in both chapter 7 and chapter 13.   Clients are often very nervous and unsure about the meeting of creditors.    No one wants to appear in a public place to be questioned about their bankruptcy and finances.

The Meeting of Creditors is less like going to Court, and more like going to the DMV to register your case (in most cases).   However, the unknown is usually scary.

So … In order to serve my clients better and prepare them for the meeting I complied a list of general questions the Trustee will most likely you.  Hopefully they will be a help to you.

  1. The Trustee will swear you in.
  2. Please state your name, address.  (If there are 2 of you, the second person can just say “same address” if you live at the same address).
  3. Have you ever filed bankruptcy before?  If so, when and where?
  4. Are you still employed at XYZ and making the same you were when you filed bankruptcy?  (Please let the attorney know if you have changed jobs or received an increase/decrease in income since your bankruptcy was filed).
  5. Is there any other source of income besides your employment?
  6. How many people are in your household?
  7. Do you own any real estate?
  8. If so, how did you determine its value?  When did you purchase it?  How much did you purchase it for?  What do you think it would sell for today?
  9. If no, then: Have you ever owned any real estate in the last 4 years?  (Please let the attorney know if you have).
  10. Your Plan calls for X number of payments of $______ per month.  Have you made your first payment?  Will you be able to make your Plan payments on a regular and timely basis?
  11. Over what period of time were the bulk of your debts incurred?
  12. Have you listed all your debts?
  13. Have you listed all your assets?

After the attorney asks you the above questions, s/he will then ask if there are any creditors who wish to ask questions.  The only creditors who appear with any degree of regularity are the IRS, the Colorado Department of Revenue, ex-spouses who want a pound of flesh, and ex-business partners who have a bone to pick.  Most creditors never appear at these meetings.

In addition to these questions, the Trustee’s Attorney may ask some questions specifically relating to your bankruptcy.

ONLY ANSWER THE QUESTIONS THAT ARE ASKED.  Do not offer more information than what is requested.  If you are unsure what to answer you can ask your attorney, who will be sitting right next to you.

After you have been examined by the Trustee’s Attorney you are free to leave.

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A good tip for keeping track of your chapter 13 plan payments

2013 May 9 by jesse

When someone files chapter 13 bankruptcy they typically have to make 60 monthly payments to their chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee.   The chapter 13 trustee’s in Colorado don’t send out a monthly statement telling your what your payment is, when it’s due or how many more months you have left to pay.   The total burden of making timely monthly payments is on the debtor.

So ….. how can you tell how many payments you’ve made and how far along you are in your bankruptcy then?

Here’s an awesome and simple trick I learned at a recent tax class I attended that one practitioner uses to help her tax clients keep track of their tax payments:

If your chapter 13 payment is $200 per month, then put an extra penny in each check that corresponds to that monthly payment.   For example

  • Trustee Payment #1: $200.01
  • Trustee Payment #2: $200.02
  • Trustee Payment #3: $200.03
  • and so on and so on ….
  • Trustee Payment #60: $200.60.

This will help you keep track of how many payment you’ve made and also whether the trustee has cashed that check.

I think that’s a pretty cool and simple trick.

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Where to Send Mortgage Payments to Bank of America During a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

2013 May 9 by jesse

When a chapter 13 bankruptcy is filed, some lenders require mortgage payments to be sent to a special address.    Here is the payment address for Bank of America for people who are in Chapter 13:

Bank of America Retail Payment Service
PO Box 650070
Dallas TX 75265-0070

Or you can in mortgage payments by calling Bank of America’s bankruptcy department:    1-800-669-5224

Make sure to keep good records of all your mortgage payments during your bankruptcy and put your account number on all your payments.

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Chapter 7 bankruptcy meeting of creditors photo

2013 April 29 by jesse

This is what the chapter 7 meeting of creditors room in Denver looks like. No judge. No jury. No torture devices. Good and boring. Just the way it should be. (Some days it can make the DMV look almost interesting).

Meeting of creditors take about 5 minutes each and they hold 45-60 a day. They ask the same 20 questions over and over.

Tip: Do it right the first time you go so you don’t have to endure sitting through other interviews a second time.

If you have a good attorney your meeting should be like a knife through warm butter.

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This is the building the meetings are held in: 1999 Broadway. Denver

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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Timeline

2013 April 15 by jesse

Below is a link to download a PDF of the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy timeline that I’ve been handing out to clients for the last several years.

Clients appreciate being able to see a simple and accurate illustration of what is to be expected in their case.

I like using illustrations like this one in my practice.   They help educate and set expectation.   When this is done right the clients have an overall better experience and are less nervous and scared.

My wife and I have 5 children.   When my wife was pregnant for the first few times we both found comfort in educating ourselves about pregnancy and birth process.   It really helped to know what to expect.   A lot of what we learned came from the popular book “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.”

If I wrote a book I might call it, ” What to expect when you’re in bankruptcy.”   It would be full of easy to understand information and illustrations (like the one below).

There should rarely be any surprises in a chapter 7 bankruptcy case if the case is well prepared and the client is educated on the process.   This illustration of the chapter 7 process helps by setting realistic expectations and helping clients understand the process.  I think you’ll find it helpful.

Let me know what you think.

Click HERE to download the chapter 7 bankruptcy timeline PDF

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For Those of You With Active Cases

2011 April 8 by Staff

There is a handy online service that allows you to access your court documents for only eight cents per page. Check out PACER — Public Access to Court Electronic Records at www.pacer.gov/psco/cgi-bin/regform.pl. Continue reading »