The case is filed electronically through the Clerk of the United States Bankruptcy Court. At the time of filing, the Clerk will send out a notice of filing, which will include the case number, the 341 meeting court date, the time, the location and, of course, the trustee. The trustee is the person you are going to appear before who will analyze you in front of the creditors if any appear based on the documents that you filed in your case. At that 341 meeting of the creditors, your attorney will be with you so you do not have to worry about any issues in terms of answering the questions. Your bankruptcy lawyer will also prepare you prior to the meeting with the types of questions that the trustee is going to ask.
Under Chapter 13 bankruptcy laws, you must be submitting all of your disposable income towards the Chapter 13 trustee each month. The trustee then pays your creditors each month pursuant to a hierarchy mandated by the model retention agreement or the model plan rather and the Bankruptcy Code. The trustee is going to make sure that you are putting all of your disposable income towards your repayment plan. That is his role in the bankruptcy process.
To that end, the trustee is going to ask you a series of questions based on your income and expenses. The trustee might have issues with some of your budgetary items and might try to extract more money to be paid towards the Chapter 13 plan and less money towards your normal living expenses. If you have expenditures that are extremely high, you may be able to prove that those are legitimate by showing bills, such as electric bills, gas bills or medical bills if you have an ongoing medical condition.
The trustee’s job is to make sure that you are providing the proper amount to the bankruptcy Chapter 13 trustee and that you are putting forth all of your disposable income under the Bankruptcy Code. If the trustee is satisfied that you are paying all that you need to pay, the trustee will recommend your case for confirmation before the judge at a confirmation hearing approximately two to four weeks after your 341 meeting of creditors.
If your case is recommended for confirmation and approved by the judge, then your payment plan is solid. By that I mean you will be able to make the regular mortgage payment and the trustee payment for the next three to five years in an effort to clear up your arrearage and organize all of your other debts under the Bankruptcy Code.
In the event that the trustee is not recommending your case for confirmation, then you have an issue on hand. You can either attempt to make modifications to your plan or provide the documentation that the trustee is looking for under your plan or you can take the case to a hearing whereby the judge will make a determination as to whether or not your bankruptcy case is confirmable.