What are the Rights and Responsibilites of Chapter 13 Debtors and Their Attorneys BEFORE The Case is Filed?

18 Mar What are the Rights and Responsibilites of Chapter 13 Debtors and Their Attorneys BEFORE The Case is Filed?

Northern District of New York Bankruptcy Judge Robert E. Littlefield, Jr. recently filed an administrative order outlining the rights and responsibilities of Chapter 13 debtors and their attorneys. Before the case is filed, he suggests that:

The debtor agrees to:

1. Provide the attorney with accurate financial information and timely provide all requested documentation.

2. Discuss with the attorney the debtor’s objectives in filing the case.

Judge Littlefield also suggests that the attorney agrees to:

1. Meet with the debtor to review the debtor’s debts, assets, liabilities, income, and expenses.

2. Counsel the debtor regarding the advisability of filing either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 case, outlining the procedures with the debtor, and answering the debtor’s questions.

3. Explain what payments will be made directly by the debtor and what payments will be made through the debtor’s Chapter 13 plan, with particular attention to mortgage and vehicle loan payments, as well as any other claims which accrue interest.

4. Explain to the debtor how, when, and where to make the Chapter 13 plan payments.

5. Explain to the debtor how the attorney’s fees are paid and provide an executed copy of this document to the debtor.

6. Explain to the debtor that the first plan payment must be made to the Trustee within 30 days of the date the plan is filed.

7. Advise the debtor of the requirement to attend the 341 Meeting of Creditors, and instruct the debtor as to the date, time, and place of the meeting.

8. Advise the debtor of the necessity of maintaining liability and hazard insurance on all real property as well as liability, collision, and comprehensive insurance on vehicles securing loans or leases.

9. Timely prepare and file the debtor’s petition, plan, statements, and schedules.

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Peter Orville is a bankruptcy lawyer in Binghamton, located in the Southern Tier of New York. He is a member and New York co-chair of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.
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