What Documents Will a Bankruptcy Trustee Want for a Chapter 13?

Man looking at the envelopes

Question: I know I have to file a chapter 13 bankruptcy because my income is pretty high and because I have a lot of equity in my house. I need to get out from under my huge debt load. I racked up big credit card balances on my Visa and American Express cards and I have personal loans with Bank of America, SunTrust and Regions Bank and I borrowed some cash from my family members. I owe my sister and grandmother almost $50,000.

I got into trouble by casino gambling and investing in the stock market. I thought I could win at some casinos in North Carolina and I wound up losing quite a bit. Then I started playing in the stock market and the IPO’s I invested in lost money and I invested in options so I lost a lot of money.

I am a pretty private person and I want a good idea of what the bankruptcy trustee can ask me for. When my father did his bankruptcy a few years ago he said that the trustee didn’t ask for too much. I really don’t want to disclose everything, but I will to get debt relief and to follow the law.

Once my case is confirmed, will I have to deal a lot with the trustee? I mean will he call me a lot or write to me or text me? I’m busy with a new job in Atlanta and I don’t want to have to always worry about being called by the trustee.

And I want to know if the trustee can look at my finances whenever he or she wants. Not that I’m hiding anything, but I do want to be ready for if I need to disclose my income or bonus or anything.

N.O. in Roswell, GA

Answer: Before the plan is approved and confirmed by the trustee and the court, they can (and will) ask for many documents to prove the information that we are providing to them.

Once your case is confirmed, your interaction with the trustee is normally limited to making your chapter 13 payment (making sure the deduction comes out of your paycheck) and sending your tax returns to them each year.

They can review your finances at any time during the case, but they often will only do so if they feel as though there has been a substantial financial change in your circumstances (as evidenced on your tax return) or we request that your plan be modified.

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