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Another Ch13 Pro Se Success Story


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    Another Ch13 Pro Se Success Story

    First of all a big thank you to the operators of this forum. It was a very helpful place to visit before filing.

    My case: Chapter 13 Pro Se 100% plan, no assets.

    It takes a lot of reading and attention to detail but it can be done. I did contact two attorneys but was dismayed by their lack of response and interest in my case. I decided to go it alone. Filed last month after 6 months of prep. Not everyday of course but it did take a significant effort. Lots of procedures, forms and rules. Be SURE you are familiar with them all. Take your time and pay attention to detail. Read the Pro Se guide in your district. That was very helpful.

    I used 44 bucks and its not too bad. You will need a PDF editor to complete the forms. Download Acrobat for free.

    My 341 was held this week. It took about 20 minutes but mainly yes and no questions. I listened to about 4 cases before me, and they took the same amount of time and answered very similar questions. They all had lawyers. 3 out of 4 were dismissed due to errors. I was floored by that.

    The trustee complimented me a number of times and said I didn't need a lawyer moving forward. She could tell I put the work in. That was all good but it doesn't eliminate the fact that I screwed up my finances royally. I made one small mistake on the plan. I selected 'Pot Plan' vs Unsecured Dividend. She changed that on the fly for me. All I had to do is sign a sheet confirming the change. That was it. Not at all intimidating and the trustee was very cordial.

    Here are some takeaways:
    • Make the trustee's job easy by filling out all the forms truthfully and accurately. Check them 10 times...I certainly did and it helped a lot.
    • Include EVERYTHING even if the creditor doesn't report to the credit bureaus.
    • When filing, you will NOT be required to write your case number on 80+ pages. The clerk will scan them into the system and do it for you.
    • Be sure to take your credit counseling course BEFORE filing. You cannot file without it. I paid 24 bucks for that. It takes about 45 minutes.
    • When completing your Certificate of Service of the Plan, be sure to include a creditor matrix for that as well. Be sure to include the trustee's name and address.
    • In my district, I had to send the 'Plan' to all my creditors. Cost was about 50 bucks total. Did that immediately after my petition date. Check your local may not have to do this.
    • In 100% plan, you only pay 100% even if your DMI is greater than the payment. My DMI was over 700 per month greater. You can keep all other income, bonuses, stock grants, tax returns etc. Just make the payment every month and you're good to go.
    • There is no interest at all. Secured or Unsecured.
    • Be sure to bring your Social Security Card and Drivers License to the 341 Meeting.
    • 7 days before the 341, you need to send the trustee the current year tax returns, and last 60 days of pay stubs, along with the 'Plan'. Write your case number on anything you send the trustee. I sent the required docs the day after my petition. She was very happy about that.
    • You can use TFS Bill Pay to pay the trustee, you do not have to setup payroll deduct. Send your first payment no later than 30 days after filing.
    • The trustee urged me to check all of the claims and file objections as necessary. She said there is a good chance some will not file.
    • You cannot obtain any credit without notifying the trustee and gaining approval from the court. Wait 2-3 years before even attempting this.
    • In Ch13, you need to take your follow-up Debtor Education Course before discharge (3 to 5 years...or before the plan finishes early). No rush but don't forget.

    Best of luck with your case!

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