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Attorney problems related to end of Chapter 13

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  • Attorney problems related to end of Chapter 13

    A brief history of our case. Am I over-reacting?

    -Filed 100% repayment Ch13 in March 2012 and had a few solid years with our assigned attorney. Questions asked and answered in a timely manner. Advised by attorney to use law firm for all trustee communications, including annual tax returns and queries.

    -2014 our law firm states we need a stipulation filed for the purchase of a vehicle, despite trustee not demanding anything except notification for <$1000 monthly payments. Firm charged $1400+ to file the stipulation. Only fee listed for stipulation on retainer agreement is for real estate for $1000.

    -2015 our assigned attorney and her assistant leaves firm (not communicated). Send our tax return in february 2015. Our tax return goes unsent until a demand letter is received from trustee. After numerous emails documenting our tax return transmission to the attorney, they discover our case was not handed over to anyone. Given multiple points of contact to ensure this stressful situation never arises again.

    -2016 (this one is long) We send our tax returns in February to all FOUR points of contact via email for submission to trustee. In July (last payment already sent and refund due us) we receive a demand letter from the trustee again threatening dismissal for not timely filing our annual tax return and refund. We had not been required to submit our refunds for the prior 2 years, and our attorney advised us when to send it. In a panic, I contact our attorney and discover despite all the redundancy, those four points of contact were no longer with the firm. Furious, I send EVERYONE still employed in the office a copy of the tax return.

    During the intervening 5 months, the tax refund was spent in various ways, so we had no ability to generate the refund monies in the less than 10 day timespan demanded. I asked my attorney to attempt some sort of relief request to the trustee. Attorney replied that we the trustee advised we had no option, and had to meet the demand within the time allotted. Unable to obtain a loan, I embarrassingly asked friends for personal loans while preparing to sell anything I could to avoid dismissal. As a last ditch effort, I sent a "begging" email to the trustee for relief, who immediately replied in writing to ignore the demand since we were so close to completion. Thank goodness.

    I contact my attorney and ask why they were unable to secure the same outcome, to which they had no answer, leading me to believe no communication was made. Upset at the irregularities in the firm, I requested an audit of the payments the firm received from our case, which is where we discovered the aforementioned vehicle purchase stipulation. The attorney advised me he would have it in my inbox that afternoon. I received it 16 days later after numerous follow up emails. Attorney also recommends

    In mid-August, we receive our trustee Final Report and Accounting <?> stating that after final audit, we have completed our "journey" and that our attorney needed only file our Certificate of Completion... and await discharge. I contact the attorney, who advises me by email that he is filing the Certificate <...> today and thanked me for my patience, while stating he would email me shortly with an update and further instructions.

    I waited for that email until late September, when I asked for an update. The attorney stated due to missing paperwork from the trustee, the Certificate <...> was not filed until September 1, 2016. He stated in his last email that the 1+business week delay was due to that trustee paperwork error, and this email excerpt:

    "We’ve reached out to the Court and Trustee...waiting on the Trustee to file its Final Report and Account. The Trustee is preparing its Final Report and Account but is waiting for checks to clear. According to the Trustee, this process can take up to 60 days from its Final Account and Report (similar names but different documents) that was filed August 16, 2016. I appreciate your patience as we work ... to ensure this matter is wrapped up as soon as possible."

    This seems to be an abject lie and a final insult on what appears to be punitive delays by the firm in handling and closing our case.

    Any opinons?
    Last edited by WhatDoIdo; 10-02-2016, 03:09 PM.

  • #2
    Hi there..sorry to hear of the problems you're having. Our time frames are somewhat similar (also 100% payback) we filed July, 2012, made our last payment July/16 and was discharged Aug 2nd. Our final report is still pending as one creditor has not cashed their final check. We're crossing our fingers it happened in September and we'll see the completion filed in the next couple days. Do you have access to Network13? This is the software your trustee may use to track your case. We have access to it and have been able to follow along with what's happening re. payments, etc. It does show that one check has not been cashed to-date (hopefully updates when the trustee does their bank reconciliations tomorrow or the next day). So although you have got lots of runarounds thus far, this reason may be true. The creditor has 90 days from issue to cash the check. In WA state, after the 90th day, the check is canceled and the funds turned over to the bk court as unclaimed funds. The creditor would then go through the court. Not our problem though, once that switch happens at 90 days the final order will be issued as the trustee is released from the case and the final report is filed. I, like you don't want to see it go that long, so I'll be thinking good thoughts for both of us over the next couple days. Despite the pain this has been, it still feels great that it's over, right?
    Last edited by sophieanne; 10-02-2016, 05:20 PM.
    Filed Chapter 13 - 07/20/12
    Discharged 8/2/16

    Comment


    • #3
      I won't say that closing out a Chapter 13 is "easy" but it is a process and requires certain papers to be filed. I can't speak for the attorneys that actually like Chapter 13s, but most attorneys don't like that they last for 36-60 months (and even longer since the close out can take 90 days or more!).

      Suffice it to say that with Chapter 13s filed by firms with more than a handful of attorneys, that the attorney that filed your case may no longer be with the firm by the time your Chapter 13 is ready for discharge. In fact, I have been in bankruptcy court with poor debtors that say they can't find their attorney... with some finding out in court that their attorney, unfortunately, passed away. It's just the nature of the beast.

      I think your attorney/firm could have been a little more professional. Kudos to you for reaching out to the Trustee when your attorney didn't really do anything on your behalf.
      Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
      Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
      Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog


      I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.

      Comment


      • #4
        What gets me irate are the apparent lies being sent my way. The lie about the filing delay due to trustee error, the need for a trustee final audit AFTER the final audit, and the need for the trustee to file a "Final ACCOUNT and Report" after they filed "Final REPORT and Account", which does not exist per the NV or Fed BK rules I reviewed, nor the trustees written timeline booklet.

        Luckily the relationship is near over, but I am considering a state bar complaint due to the dishonesty displayed.

        Comment


        • #5
          I hope that these next few weeks go well for you. I know personally how frustrating it is when people you trust, and pay, don't live up to professional standards. I woudl wait until after your case is discharged and closed before even entertaining the thought of filing a bar complaint. Let's just get past this wonderful place... obtaining a Chapter 13 discharge!

          Here's an early congratulations!
          Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
          Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
          Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog


          I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.

          Comment


          • #6
            You are right, of course. Thank you

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by sophieanne View Post
              Hi there..sorry to hear of the problems you're having. Our time frames are somewhat similar (also 100% payback) we filed July, 2012, made our last payment July/16 and was discharged Aug 2nd. Our final report is still pending as one creditor has not cashed their final check. We're crossing our fingers it happened in September and we'll see the completion filed in the next couple days. Do you have access to Network13? This is the software your trustee may use to track your case. We have access to it and have been able to follow along with what's happening re. payments, etc. It does show that one check has not been cashed to-date (hopefully updates when the trustee does their bank reconciliations tomorrow or the next day). So although you have got lots of runarounds thus far, this reason may be true. The creditor has 90 days from issue to cash the check. In WA state, after the 90th day, the check is canceled and the funds turned over to the bk court as unclaimed funds. The creditor would then go through the court. Not our problem though, once that switch happens at 90 days the final order will be issued as the trustee is released from the case and the final report is filed. I, like you don't want to see it go that long, so I'll be thinking good thoughts for both of us over the next couple days. Despite the pain this has been, it still feels great that it's over, right?
              sophieanne, Hello. I need your help. I have been hearing alot about the Network13 and I thought it can help me. I did find it, I think, but it is wanting me to register my request for this site with my Truste and I did find a form to fill out and email. Does this sound like what you did to use this site? Thank you for your time.

              Comment


              • #8
                There are two different sites. One is 13Network and the other is 13DataCenter. I don't know which one your Trustee uses or if they both have the information. You can register for 13DataCenter since it should have everything.

                I do not know what your Trustee offered for you to fill out. I have personally used both and some Trustees have yet another one (such as TrustWin).
                Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
                Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
                Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog


                I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by justbroke View Post
                  There are two different sites. One is 13Network and the other is 13DataCenter. I don't know which one your Trustee uses or if they both have the information. You can register for 13DataCenter since it should have everything.

                  I do not know what your Trustee offered for you to fill out. I have personally used both and some Trustees have yet another one (such as TrustWin).
                  Thank you as always justbroke, your the greatest!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    13DataCenter is run by the National Data Center or NDC. Some people call it the "NDC" and some people call it 13DataCenter. They are synonymous.

                    Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
                    Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
                    Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog


                    I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      lukesky , your attorney is not lying about the procedures to complete a Chap 13. Regardless of what part of the country you are in, all trustees must conduct a final audit and file a final account and report before a Chap 13 can close.
                      LadyInTheRed is in the black!
                      Filed Chap 13 April 2010. Discharged May 2015.
                      $143,000 in debt discharged for $36,500, including attorneys fees. Money well spent!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        lukesky I might make a quick call to your trustee. To me it sounds like your being asked to do an online approval form for 13Network )(www.13network.com) which i think has been very helpful to me in addition to
                        13 Datacenter ,It's what I referred to in my earlier post. They provide very similiar info but I find the 13Network gies a little more detail.

                        BTW - Is it ok that normal subscribers (not just moderators) give answers??? Sometimes I find moderators jump in when others have been asked a question and haven't responded yet.
                        Last edited by sophieanne; 10-03-2016, 01:08 PM.
                        Filed Chapter 13 - 07/20/12
                        Discharged 8/2/16

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by sophieanne View Post
                          BTW - Is it ok that normal subscribers (not just moderators) give answers??? Sometimes I find moderators jump in when others have been asked a question and haven't responded yet.
                          This is a community board and anyone can answer any question. The moderator staff is composed of people, just like you, that have been through bankruptcy. Since we monitor the board and the postings, we are pretty responsive when we have time and the ability to answer a question. You'll find that moderators are not involved in every posting/thread. It just depends on our area of experience and whether there are responses.

                          sophieanne we do appreciate you and your invaluable help!
                          Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
                          Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
                          Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog


                          I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Yes, please never hesitate to answer questions. The job of the moderators is to make sure members comply with forum rules, which for the most part means getting rid of spammers. Fortuantely, members here tend to be respectful of each other which makes our job pretty easy. When we answer questions, we answer as equal forum members, not as moderators. At least that is the way I look at it. While we have learned a lot from being long time forum members, the fact taht we are moderators is no reason to believe that any other member's advice is less valuable or correct than ours.
                            LadyInTheRed is in the black!
                            Filed Chap 13 April 2010. Discharged May 2015.
                            $143,000 in debt discharged for $36,500, including attorneys fees. Money well spent!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I agree with LadyInTheRed. I'm only a moderator when I need to put on that hat. Otherwise I'm just another forum member who has gone through bankruptcy and enjoy sharing my experience and knowledge.
                              Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
                              Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
                              Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog


                              I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.

                              Comment

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