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cfortunato, Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 8023
Experience:  Bankruptcy professor.
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Customer Question

I filed Chapter 13 Pro Se February 9, 2012. I filed a plan for 36 months. My pay stubs show gross taxable income for the six months prior to filing as $31626.32 or $5271.05 average monthly or $63,252.64 annual. The State of VA median income for a family of two is $64,288.00. I fall under the median income and therefore can submit my plan for as few as 36 months according to schedule B22C CHAPTER 13 STATEMENT OF CURRENT MONTHLY INCOME AND CALCULATION OF COMMITMENT PERIOD AND DISPOSABLE INCOME. I used $5200.00 instead of $5271.05 so I plan to amend the plan to be as accurate as possible.

I recently had the 341 hearing and the assistant attorney for the Trustee met with me and asked all the usual questions. She indicated some of my schedules had incorrect information and might need to be amended. Apparently I overstated the value of my home furnishings. She asked me to determine the value of the furniture if I were to sell it at fire sale prices. I agreed the value is too high and will amend that schedule with a more realistic value.

She questioned the median income amount I had entered on schedule C. I researched it and found the amount I entered is correct. The trustee had asked me to send in my two most recent months worth of pay stubs and last years Income tax returns well prior to the 341 meeting. At the meeting she also said she looked at my recent pay stubs and said it looks like I will earn more than the median income this year. I explained that I had been asked to work an unusual amount of overtime during that period and that I don't expect the overtime to continue. She asked me if I have new information regarding my income from my employer. I said no not new information, just that my work schedule fluctuates and that I believe my plan reflects that I will earn below the median income this year.

I have been trying to find out more about why the Trustee seems to be indicating my plan needs to be amended to reflect a higher income and what exactly do I need to do to help ensure my plan is accepted. I spoke with the trustee again today by phone and she still seems to indicate she thinks my income will be over the median. Mainly based on the most recent pay stubs and income tax records. Last year I filed taxes just below median income. There may have been one or two years in the past four that my income was higher than median. The trustee did say I can send the six months worth of pay stubs prior to filing to her for review. We both agreed one of the months I was laid off and therefore the income for that period would be skewed. Her comment was that the layoff was a one time event and she wouldn't expect it to occur again this year.

I have a few questions:

Should I send the pay stubs to the trustee?

It sounds like the trustee wants me to forecast that I will earn more money than I think I will. Overtime is the main reason I have earned above the median income in previous years. My employer has indicated they plan to hire a larger staff and cut back on overtime going forward. Therefore I do not believe I will earn over the median income this year. My plan shows projected income of $62,400 this year. The trustee intimated today during our phone conversation that she thinks I am underestimating my income and therefore would likely object to the plan I submitted. What should I do if I believe she is wrong and I am right about my income projection in my plan? Should I stick to my guns and wait to see if she really does object?

Since schedule C shows I am under the median income it appears I do not have to stay in the plan for 60 months. Can the trustee require me to stay in the plan longer than 36 months based on the most recent two months pay stubs? If so up to how many months can the trustee require me to be in the plan?

It looks like I need to amend several schedules of my plan. Schedule C property claimed as exempt and schedule B22 C to reflect a slightly higher amount for the statement of current monthly income. My pay stubs add up to $63,252.64. The dollar amounts will change somewhat on the amount of disposable income available to pay back the creditors. Can I submit amended schedules only or do I need to send the all of the schedules when I amend?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Expert:  cfortunato replied 2 years ago.

cfortunato :

Hi JACustomer,

cfortunato :

When you amend Schedules or other Bankrutpcy forms, you are supposed to submit the Amended Schedule(s) and or Amended Bankruptcy forms only.

cfortunato :

You have to send one copy of each amended form to the Bankruptcy trustee, one copy to the US trustee, and file a copy with the Bankruptcy court clerk.

cfortunato :

You are not supposed to submit any forms that are not amended.

cfortunato :

I think this is what you wanted to know. If not, please let me know.
Thank you.

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