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Ask Terry L. Your Own Question
Terry L.
Terry L., Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 2897
Experience:  Better Business Bureau. 18yrs bankruptcy experience. Chicago Bar Assoc. American Bankruptcy Institute member.
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I have filed for Chapter 13 Pro Se. I spent a lot of time

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I have filed for Chapter 13 Pro Se. I spent a lot of time and emotional energy doing this and to avoid attorney fees. I am very hands on and the thought of handing my case over to an attorney makes me nervous, however I don't want to be representing myself if it isn't in my best interest, and a couple of issues have come up. I would like clarification on whether these issues are typically handled as part of a chapter 13 case. If not, maybe I can still represent myself but get some legal advice for these particular issues. The debt that is in the plan is back taxes and a small mortgage debt.

During my confirmation meeting a legal issue came up concerning the fact that the tax debt I owe has been sold to a company(American Tax funding) who has added on 21% interest. This company is apparently being sued by the City of Schenectady for charging this interest without providing a service to the tax payer. Anyway this company has added on about 4k to my debt. I am wondering is having a chapter 13 attorney to handle my case would include dealing with this issue?

also, my other question is that my mortgage interest rate is 6.75% and I would like a loan modification. Is this something that a chapter 13 attorney would typically help with?

Thank you for your help.

Terry L. :

Hi, thanks for your question. You should hire a lawyer for specific legal advice. No attorney client relationship is created here.

Terry L. :

I would always recommend an attorney assist you, you usually get much more benefits than you pay for, but that is your call.

Terry L. :

An attorney, or you, can object to the claim if you feel it is inaccurate.

Terry L. :

Then the parties would have to litigate the matter, so that the right amount is paid in the chapter 13.

Terry L. :

Your attorney will hopefully have done this a number of times, so it is fairly straightforward for them to take those steps.

Terry L. :

As to the modification.

Terry L. :

It would depend on your agreement with the attorney.

Terry L. :

The attorney would get approval for you as needed, to proceed with the modification.

Terry L. :

Some attorneys handle loan modifications, some don't. This is technically outside of the chapter 13 representation

Terry L. :

Just the motion for approval is part of the cas.e

Terry L. :

case.

Terry L. :

The attorney can modify the plan also, once the modification goes thru, and update your monthly budget as well.

Terry L. :

what questions do you have?

Customer:

Thanks for your help. Are you saying that it is okay to ask an attorney for specific legal representation for the issues that have come up or would you recommend that I hire an attorney to handle my case?

Customer:

I get the impression that it is all or nothing, either I handle the case or I give it to an attorney to handle?

Customer:

I feel that I need help but don't want to take my thumbs off the case or pay an attorney only to find out that helping me with this issues isn't even part of the service that they provide.

Terry L. :

I would recommend hiring an attorney to handle the entire chapter 13. There are many, many pitfalls that a pro-se debtor can fall into, too many to get into. You get legal advice, as well as the practical case filing, and motion coverage as well. The fees are set by the court in most instances...and it sets out what the representation will include.

Terry L. :

You and your attorney will work together.

Terry L. :

Your attorney will likely have handled hundreds to thousands of bankruptcy cases, so that expertise will help the case go smoothly.

Terry L. :

Especially when you are fighting this tax company.

Terry L. :

Most attorneys will not sign on just for piecemeal work, it's usually an all or nothing deal with bankruptcy.

Terry L. :

most offer free consults too, so you can make sure you are comfortable with the attorney you use.

Terry L. :

I've had attorneys for clients whom have filed bk, and they wanted our expertise in the matter, even though they knew the law, and could figure things out too

Customer:

Yes that's kinda what I'm feeling too. Maybe I should start with the consultation and take it from there. I just don't want to pay an attorney 3k to redo all the work I've already done. The trustee said that my case is fine and is ready to approve it. She was just worried about the tax company issue and I myself am interested in getting the mortage interest amounts lowers to more current rates.

Customer:

I meant lowered.

Terry L. :

Yep. I hear you.

Terry L. :

I would at least meet the attorney to see what they say, if you don't like it, you can always tackle it yourself.

Terry L. :

Any other questions about the process?

Customer:

Yes. once the plan is approved. What else does the chapter 13 attorney do to help with the case, or does their job kind of end there?

Terry L. :

the trustee?

Terry L. :

or the attorney?

Terry L. :

The attorney will review and object to proof of claims, will respond to any creditors motions, or trustee motions.

Terry L. :

They will file the required documents needed throughout the case.

Customer:

Ok. Is there a lot for them to do after the plan is approved?

Terry L. :

They can bring any motions the debtors need, say to modify the plan for need, motion to allow debtor to incur debt, say for getting another car etc.

Customer:

Okay. Thanks Terry for you help.

Terry L. :

Roughly 40% of all ch13s fail. so there are numerous trustee motions to dismiss, motions to modify the auotmatic stay if the debtor falls behind on the mortgage etc.

Terry L. :

If you have any other questions later, feel free to request me!

Customer:

I don't think I have any more questions for now. Thanks again.

Terry L. :

I wish you the best of luck

Customer:

Me too :-)

Terry L. and other Bankruptcy Law Specialists are ready to help you