Tools designed exclusively for our clients.
At Slayton Law, we take care of our clients. We’ve packed this page with resources that will answer your questions throughout the bankruptcy process – including videos, articles, blog posts, and downloadable documents. From filing to your 341 Hearing to discharge and beyond, our goal is to help you get out of debt.
We also want you to stay out of debt after your bankruptcy is complete. So we’ve provided articles, videos, and other resources to help you with budgeting, borrowing, and more. If you have any questions at all, please feel free to email us at our special email address that is only for our clients: Clients@marshallslayton.com
Questions About Court Hearings:
341 Hearing (also known as Creditors Meeting) – Yes.
Confirmation Hearing – No.
Quashed Garnishment Return – No.
Others – Call our office to ask about the status.
You don’t need to complete the 2nd “Post-filing Debtor Education Course” before the 341 Creditors Meeting, but you should take it as soon as you can.
The Trustee routinely files one of these in every case. It is a list of the Trustee requirement to get your case confirmed.
If there are any documents on the list that are needed, please get those to us within 48 hours.
If we get all of the documents from you and resolve all of the Trustee’s requirements, your plan will be confirmed and you will not have to attend any more court hearings.
Questions About Creditors:
Sometimes bills/letters cross in the mail, or were prepared prior to a creditor getting notice of the case, so it is possible that you will get a few calls from creditors after filing.
Please tell them you have filed bankruptcy (or have retained us), and tell them to call us. If the calls persist, get the phone number and address so we can contact them. Or provide us with any letters requesting payment so we can send a letter telling them to stop contacting you.
Remember, anything owed before you filed is included in the bankruptcy. But if you incurred any debt AFTER you filed, you are responsible for paying that balance.
Yes, you cannot pick and choose who you include in your bankruptcy. You must include everyone to whom you owe money, including your family and employer.
You can sign up for Electronic Noticing if you would like emails of every Court Notice. Or you can rely on us to contact you when needed.
If the creditor is a general unsecured creditor (as in the case of medical or credit card bills) and is NOT a student loan, the creditor will not be paid by the Trustee, but the debt will still be discharged when your case is completed.
If the creditor is a secured creditor (as in the case of a car loan), we will file the claim for secured creditor so they will be paid by the Trustee.
If the creditor is for a priority creditor (such as tax debt or child support) we will file the claim for the creditor so that the debt gets paid by the Trustee.
The original creditor has transferred your debt to a difference company (can be debt buyer or new loan servicer – this happens all the time). The attorney for the new creditor has put in a request to receive news on developments in your case. Please email us at Clients@marshallslayton.com if you would like further information.
If your vehicle loan was being paid through the bankruptcy plan, the creditor will send it to the debtor within 30 days after the bankruptcy is discharged. If 30 days have passed, please contact the lender first. If there is a problem contact us.
If you were paying the loan directly and not through the bankruptcy. The creditor should send you the title within 30 days after you make your last payment. If 30 days have passed, please contact the lender.
Try to rent from an individual or family and not through a large rental complex or management company. Smaller, “Mom-and-Pop” operations are less likely to pull your credit report, which should make things easier for you.
If you still see a balance, you go to each of the three Credit Reporting Agencies’ website (Experion.com, Transunion.com, or Equifax.com) to dispute it. You will have to explain that the debt was discharged in a bankruptcy and you may have to include a copy of the Discharge Order. The Credit Reporting Agency has 30 days to investigate and reply. If, after you do this, they fail to reply, or reply saying the credit report is correct, contact us and we will refer you to a lawyer that will sue them to fix it and request damages under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
If a debt is discharged by the bankruptcy, a record of ‘Discharged in BK’ can stay on CR for 7 to 10 years. Nonetheless, there are effective ways you can rebuild your credit after your bankruptcy – please see our website for details.
Chapter 7: If the creditor was not specifically listed in your bankruptcy, but your case was deemed a “no distribution” case because the Trustee did not pay any money to your creditors (95% of cases) the debts are still discharged. If you have given the case number to the creditor and they still persist in contacting you, Slayton Law can send a letter to the creditor with the case law and demanding that they cease any contact. Our fee for that is $100, since it was not included in the original bankruptcy.
If you incurred the debt before the filing date, call to inform our office so we can check to see if it is already on Schedule D, E or F. If so, we’re good. If it is not listed on Schedules D, E or F, you will need to provide us a bill from creditor and we will draft the necessary pleading to add the creditor. We will then send it to them to sign and return to us via hand-delivery. There may be a filing fee of $31.00.
If you incurred the debt after filing, you will need to make arrangements to pay the debt yourself. Post-petition debts cannot be added to the bankruptcy without creditor consent and it is very unlikely that the creditor will consent.
We recommend that you contact the lender and apply for a loan modification. If the creditor needs a letter of authorization from Slayton Law to speak with you about the loan modification, provide us with the fax number to which the letter must be sent and we will prepare the letter and send to creditor.
TFS: We will set this up for you. Call our office to set up an appointment to come in and meet with one of our staff members. You must bring in a cancelled/voided check to your bank account so we have all the information required to set it up.
Mortgage payment: You must go to your checking account bill pay website and set up a recurring automatic mortgage payment. When you do, the bank will mail a check to the mortgage company on the same day every month.
Make your check out to HERBERT L. BESKIN, TRUSTEE for the monthly amount you owe.
Write your case number on the check.
Mail your check to:
HERBERT L. BESKIN, TRUSTEE
P. O. BOX 1961
Memphis, TN 38101-1961
Please be aware if you get 2 months behind on payments, the Trustee will file a Motion to Dismiss your case.
If you can afford to make the plan payments while you are looking for work, make them directly to the Trustee (See “How do I make my Trustee payments”).
If you cannot afford to make the plan payments while you are looking for work, the Trustee will not take any action to dismiss your case until you fall 2 months behind on payments. Therefore, you have 2 months to find new employment.
When you find a new job, please call our office to let us know the payroll information for your new job so we can change the Wage Deduction Order to your new employer.
If you don’t find work over the first two months and don’t make your plan payments during that time, the Trustee will file a motion to dismiss your case for nonpayment. He will set the court hearing for 2 months down the road, thereby giving you two more months to find work. If you have found work over that period of time, we can amend your plan to get you current with the Trustee and keep your case moving forward.
If you have not found work by that time, call our office and make an appointment to meet with one of our attorneys to discuss options such as converting your case to a Chapter 7, or dismissing your Chapter 13 and refiling it when you are able to find employment.
Call our office first to make sure you are currently up-to-date on your payments. You do not want to get two months behind, or the Trustee will file a motion to dismiss.
If you are currently up to date on your payments, you can miss one payment, but you must send the next month’s payment well before the due date so it posts at the Trustee’s office before the due date. If you do not do this, you will be two months behind and the Trustee will file a Motion to Dismiss your case.
You will get a copy of the Trustee’s Final Report. It will show the amount that each of your creditors was paid by the Trustee.
Questions About Credit Counseling:
You only need to take one Second Course, and we prefer you take it from DECAF or Ch 13 Trustee.
Questions About Garnishments:
Do not spend this check until after you call our office to check to see if this is okay. We may need to check with the Trustee.
Give the checks to your employer and ask that the money be given to you.
If you are asking prior to your 341 Hearing (also known as Creditors Meeting), you must wait to see if Trustee has the funds.
If you are asking this after your 341 Hearing, call us to let us know. We will call investigate to find out where the funds are.
For Wage Deduction Orders (WDO): The Trustee will stop the wage deduction after Plan payments are complete and the Trustee’s final reporting is done. Our office does not control those actions. Any excess money taken will be returned within 45 days.
For TFS: If you originally set up the deduction with TFS, you need to contact TFS to notify them that the Plan is complete. If our office originally set up the deduction with TFS for you, contact our office and we will notify TFS on your behalf.
Please call to let us know the payroll information for your new job so we can change the Wage Deduction Order to your new employer.
You must make the plan payments to the Trustee until the WDO at your new job starts (See “How do I make my Trustee payments”).
Questions About Chapter 7:
Yes. If, after you file a Chapter 7, you decide that you would prefer to be in a Chapter 13, you can convert your case at any time prior to the court entering an order discharging your debts and closing of your bankruptcy case.
No. You cannot dismiss your Chapter 7 without court approval. If you want to dismiss the Chapter 7 because the Trustee is trying to take some of your property that you don’t want to lose, the court will likely not allow you to dismiss your case but will let you convert your case to a Chapter 13 and file a plan to pay back some of your debts.
Cases are usually discharged around 90 days after filing. The deadline to object to a discharge is 90 days after filing date. The court usually enters the discharge order a day or two after that deadline passes.
Please call our office and ask before spending. We may need to talk to the Trustee and amend the Schedules and/or the Homestead Deed.
Questions About Chapter 13:
No. You cannot use credit cards while in Chapter 13.
No. You cannot borrow money from payday lender while in Chapter 13.
You must get court approval of the sale before you close on the sale and transfer the property to the buyer. You should include language in the real estate sales contract that makes the sale contingent on the approval of the bankruptcy court. *[The language to add into the contract is below.]
Once you have a fully executed real estate sale contract, please get a copy of it to our office so we can start generating the required documents.
Be aware there will need to be a hearing to get court approval and you cannot close the sale until you see a court order allowing it.
*Real Estate Sales Contract language:
This Contract is contingent upon approval by the US Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Virginia. Purchaser expressly acknowledges and agrees that the Seller has filed for bankruptcy protection. Seller agrees to make written motion for such approval and to diligently pursue obtaining approval therefor. If Seller does not obtain such approval from the US Bankruptcy Court, then this Contract shall terminate, the Deposit shall be refunded to Purchaser, and Seller and Purchaser shall be released from any further obligation hereunder.”
If your income goes down due to loss of overtime, cut hours, or job loss, the court can and usually will reduce your monthly plan payment to an amount you can make if the reduced income is to continue for some time. Call our office as soon as you can. We will need to file an amended plan and provide the Trustee with documents supporting your decrease in income (current paystubs showing lower income, letter from employer re reduced hours, proof of job loss).
Call us to let us know. If you lose your job while in Chapter 13, the court may grant you up to a three-month suspension of plan payments to find another job without a hearing.
If you end up needing more than three months to find another job, you will need to have a hearing before the judge to explain the steps you have taken to find a job and how much additional time you think you will need to find a job. If you cannot find work within the time allowed by the judge, call us to discuss the possibility of reducing your plan payments, or converting your case to a Chapter 7.
If your income goes up due to normal annual increases (e.g., cost of living increases or annual pay raise), you do not need to report that increase to the court, the Trustee, or your lawyer.
If, on the other hand, you get a windfall during your Chapter 13 (e.g., inheritance, lottery winnings, property settlement, etc.) you must inform your lawyer and he will let you know if you need to inform the Trustee or the court. In most cases, your lawyer will have to inform the Trustee and court and all or a portion of that money will need to be used to pay your debts. Therefore, do not spend the money until you talk with your lawyer.
You cannot sell anything you own without court approval.
So, if you want to sell your house, car, boat, jewelry, stocks, bonds or anything else of value, you must call our office. We will have to file a motion with the court and have a hearing before the judge. Typically, the Trustee will not have any objection if the proceeds of the sale are to be used to pay towards the plan or to replace the item being sold (i.e., buy another car or house).
Yes. If, after you file a Chapter 13, you decide that you would prefer to be in a Chapter 7, you can convert your case at any time prior to the court entering an order discharging your debts and closing of your bankruptcy case.
Yes. You have the right to dismiss your Chapter 13 at any time during the case and you will be outside the protection of the bankruptcy court.
If you dismiss the case prior to the court entering an order confirming your plan, then any money you have paid to the Trustee will be refunded to you, minus the Trustee’s fee and any attorney fees approved by the court.
If you dismiss your Chapter 13 after the court entered an order confirming your plan, then the money you have paid to the Trustee has already been distributed to creditors and will not be refunded to you. But the payments made by the Trustee should be reflected on the outstanding balances owed to your creditors.
We have 14 days after filing the case to file the Plan or other schedule. We usually don’t file something because we are waiting on information from the client. When we get that information, we will file the missing plan or schedule at the proper time.
The answer depends on the timing.
Plan payments can be lowered before the Plan is confirmed for the first time. Call our office to set up appointment to meet with one of our lawyers to discuss the reason for the change.
Plan payments cannot change after a Plan is confirmed unless you have undergone a substantial change in circumstances (loss of income, increase in expenses).
In order to determine if a substantial change in circumstances has occurred, you will need to provide documents to our office supporting the changes in income and/or expenses and one of our attorneys will let you know if you can lower your payments. The documents you will need to provide us with are:
- Two months of recent paystubs or proof of income from anyone in the household earning money.
- An amended Schedule J showing your current living expenses.
- A copy of your present Schedule J (expenses) that you will need to mark up so it shows your current dependent(s) and age(s). (Call us and we will arrange to send you a copy of your current Schedule J, or you can arrange to come by the office to pick it up.)
Our office does not have access to an accurate figure on the amount you owe, but the Trustee’s office does. Please contact the Trustee at 434-817-9913 and ask for a payoff letter. (The Trustee’s office will not give this information out over the phone.)
Yes, you may keep your tax return, UNLESS in your plan you state that will use all or part of your tax refund to fund your Chapter 13 plan.
If there is any question, contact our office and we can let you know the answer.
An Introduction to the Document Collection Process
Brief topic description if title isn’t apparent enough
Brief topic description if title isn’t apparent enough
You cannot borrow money while you are in Chapter 13 without court approval. If you want to borrow any money while in Chapter 13 you need to call our office and let us know. We will talk have to file a motion with the court and have a hearing before the judge. Typically, the court will grant the motion if you need to borrow the money to purchase an item that is necessary for the success of your plan (e.g., a car to get to and from work).
While it is possible to get a mortgage loan while still in bankruptcy, it is unlikely.
If you do get a loan to buy a home while in bankruptcy, you must get court approval of the home purchase and loan amount before you can buy the home and close the loan.
If you find that you cannot get a loan to buy a house, it is best to wait until your case is over for a year before reapplying. This is not wasted time, however. You can use it wisely by taking concrete steps to rebuild your credit so you will be able to get a better interest rate when you are ready to purchase.
The budgeting app Slayton Law recommends to our clients (and the one we use at home!)
Once you get out of debt, we want you to STAY out of debt. That’s why we recommend that our clients commit to using a budgeting app to help get and stay within your budget. Every month.
Goodbudget works the way that your grandparents used to do budgeting. It’s an “envelope system” where you set certain limits in each category of spending (groceries, insurance, rent/mortgage, etc.) But instead of using paper envelopes, Goodbudget is electronic, so you can carry all your envelopes around on your cell phone with you and input what you spend as soon as you spend it. What’s more, it syncs, so two people can use it together, and each will know what the other is spending. – so you never go over budget again.