Reminder to All Debtors in a Chapter 13 Plan to Mail or Deliver a Copy of Your 2016 Tax Returns to your Attorney

Please be advised that pursuant to the Bankruptcy Code you are to submit a complete copy of your 2016 tax return upon request. In accordance with the current tax season, we are requesting a complete copy of your federal tax return. Please send your 2016 tax return to your attorney!

If you have already forwarded your complete 2016 tax return, please disregard.


Reminder to All Debtors in a Chapter 13 Plan who have Committed their Tax Refund to their Plan

Each year, you will need to submit a complete copy of your federal income taxes to your attorney.

Please review your Chapter 13 plan to determine if you have committed your tax refunds to help fund your case. If you have, the IRS may send your refund directly to our office or you may have to mail the payment directly by way of cashier check or money order to the Chapter 13 Trustee-Flint, P.O. Box 2175, Memphis, TN 38101. Please remember to include your case number and indicate that it is a tax refund on your payment. If you are uncertain or have any questions, please contact your attorney.


Top 5 Reasons to File Chapter 13

Chapter 13 is a type of bankruptcy for consumers that allows them to make payments on certain debts, restructure others, and discharge some (or all) unsecured, non-priority obligations. The leading 5 reasons to file such a bankruptcy are:

1. Your house is in foreclosure and you need to stop that process. The magic of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is that a mortgage or loan company can’t go forward with a foreclosure of your home if you have proposed a plan to get them caught up. Thus, if you are $10,000 behind in your house payments, but can repay that amount over 3 to 5 years, the foreclose stops!

2. You owe the IRS and they are threatening to garnish your wages. In a Chapter 13, you can force them to take payments. Often the IRS will work with you voluntarily to pay off a tax liability. Sometimes, however, the monthly outlays proposed by the IRS are just too large. But in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can force them to take payments if you are going to be able to cure the deficiency during the plan (3 to 5 years).

3. You owe more on your first mortgage than the house is worth and you want your second mortgage or line of credit to go away. This can happen in a Chapter 13 if you owe more on your first mortgage than the house is worth.

4. You don’t qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy but you need some relief from your debts. BAPCPA, the bankruptcy law that went into effect in 2005, limits individuals seeking to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy to persons who qualify under the Means Test. Thus, if you make too much money, you can’t file a Chapter 7.

5. You own personal property or real estate that isn’t worth what you owe on it, but you still want to keep it. In a Chapter 13, often you can “cram down” the amount you are paying on a vehicle or non-residential piece of property by paying only the actual value to the lien-holder, and treating the rest of the loan as unsecured.

These are the top five reasons to file a Chapter 13. Consult a good bankruptcy attorney to see if you can benefit from such a filing.


National Mortgage Settlement

The National Mortgage Settlement is an agreement among federal government, 49 states, and the five largest mortgage servicers and their affiliates.  It provides benefits to borrowers, including borrowers in bankruptcy, whose mortgages loans are serviced by those banks.  Please read the informational sheet(pdf) and frequently asked questions(pdf) for more information.

National Mortgage Settlement Agreement

National Mortgage Settlement website


Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP)
Have you ever heard of the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP)?  HAMP is a program used by the federal government to help combat the housing market struggles experienced by homeowners. As a homeowner, you could qualify for a loan modification under the HAMP guidelines. If your mortgage payment is greater than 1/3 (31 percent) of your gross monthly income, then you could qualify for a loan modification that could permanently reduce your payments and avoid the foreclosure of your home.

In an effort by the bankruptcy trustees, we are encouraging debtors to consider loan modifications under the HAMP guidelines. Please visit www.MakingHomeAffordable.gov for more information or click here to download the HAMP Brochure(pdf).

Please take advantage of the resources provided to learn about the services available. Please note that the Chapter 13 Office does not process HAMP applications.


Do I Need an Attorney?

It is very difficult to successfully complete a chapter 13 bankruptcy case without hiring an attorney.  Read this article from the U.S. Courts Website: Filing for Bankruptcy Without an Attorney.


Attorney Selection – Who Should I Hire?
Finding the right attorney to handle your chapter 13 bankruptcy case is extremely important.  You want to find someone that is reliable, experienced, and willing to put their best effort into making sure your case is successful.

The following link is an article which details 13 ways to avoid hiring a bad bankruptcy attorney.  It lists different ways to get in contact with attorneys, things you should watch out for, and also important questions you should ask an attorney before hiring them for the job.

13 Ways to Avoid A Bad Bankruptcy Attorney

The Michigan Bar Member Directory will direct you to the list of state attorneys.

You will be able to search by name, or by location, or by attorney license number (if known).  You can view the address, phone number, fax number, and e-mail address of the attorney.

For referrals, you can call the Genesee County Bar Association at 810-232-6000 or you can always call the Chapter 13 Office at 810-238-4675.  We will give you 3 referrals and their phone numbers & suggest that you call all three to identify one that best fits your needs.


Instructions for Debtors Online Access Through the National Data Center

To apply for an account to review your financials through the NDC’s website, please download this Debtor Access Guide.  It is in Adobe Acrobat format (.pdf).  If you do not have adobe, go to www.adobe.com to get a free copy. If you have any questions, click here to contact Steve Robinson.


Instructions for Debtors Online Access Thru the Chapter 13 office
To review your financials, please click on the 13network link on the top of any page at www.flint13.com in the navigation bar. This opens another Carl Bekofske Webpage.  From here, click on the first link on the right where it says “Chapter 13 Inquiry“. Your username is your case number (only input numbers, do not use dashes or dof) and your password is the last four digits of your social security number.  If you have any questions, click here to contact Steve Robinson.