18 Mar What Are the Rights and Responsibilites of Chapter 13 Debtors and Their Attorneys AFTER the Case is Filed?
Bankruptcy Judge Robert E. Littlefield, Jr., from the Northern District of New York outlines the rights and responsibilities of Chapter 13 debtors and their attorneys in a recently filed Administrative Order. After the case is filed, he suggests that:
The debtor agrees to:
1. Keep the Trustee and attorney informed of the debtor’s address and telephone number.
2. Inform the attorney of any wage garnishments or attachments of assets which occur or continue after the filing of the case.
3. Contact the attorney promptly if the debtor loses his/her job or has other financial problems.
4. Let the attorney know if the debtor is sued during the case.
5. Inform the attorney if any tax refunds the debtor is entitled to are seized or not returned to the debtor by the IRS or Franchise Tax Board.
6. Contact the attorney before buying, selling, or refinancing any property, and before entering into any loan agreements to find out what approvals are required.
Attorneys should agree to:
1. Appear at the 341 Meeting of Creditors with the debtor.
2. Respond to objections to plan confirmation and, where necessary, prepare an amended plan.
3. Prepare, file, and serve necessary modifications to the plan which may include suspending, lowering, or increasing plan payments.
4. Prepare, file, and serve necessary amended statements and schedules, in accordance with information provided by the debtor.
5. Prepare, file, and serve such motions as are needed during the case including, but not limited to, motions to avoid liens, sell property, approve settlements, approve new debt, etc.
6. Timely review all filed proofs of claim.
7. Timely object to all improper and invalid proofs of claim based upon information and documentation provided by the debtor is such objection is necessary and beneficial to the debtor or to the estate.
8. Represent the debtor in connection with motions for relief from stay and for dismissal or conversion of the case.
9. Where appropriate, prepare, file, and serve necessary motions to partially or wholly avoid liens on real property or personal property pursuant to sections 506 or 522.
10. Communicate with the debtor by telephone or by being available for office appointments to discuss pending issues or matters of concern.
11. Provide such other legal services as are necessary for the proper administration of the present case before the Bankruptcy Court.
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