Important notice title..

About Us

The Office of the Chapter 13 Trustee administers cases in both Northern and Southern Districts of West Virginia.  In a nutshell, the trustee’s office collects money pursuant to a plan filed by debtors and uses that money to pay creditors once that plan is confirmed by the Court.  The trustee—or staff attorney—conduct meetings of creditors and attends confirmation and other hearings in the case.  The trustee does not represent any particular party in a case, but represents the estate that is created at the time of filing.  The trustee is forbidden by statute to give legal advice to any party in a case.—and this includes the staff of the trustee.

Many of your questions about a particular case can be answered by going to NDC, which has SOMETHING for debtors (free), debtors’ counsel (free) and creditors’ counsel (fee-based).

Chapter 13

Chapter 13 is an opportunity for qualified debtors to restore balance to their financial life.

Unlike credit counseling debt repayment plans which are voluntary for all parties, an approved Chapter 13 plan, represented by the confirmation order, is binding on all parties, including those creditors who were notified about the Chapter 13 filing but chose not to participate.

One size plan does not fit all. YOUR Chapter 13 plan can be tailored to suit your needs–although it may NOT allow you to continue in a lifestyle as yet unaffordable.

For more details on Chapter 13, read an informal article by the Chapter 13 trustee for the Northern and Southern Districts of West Virginia or a view of Chapter 13 from the federal judiciary.

Chapter 7 vs Chapter 13

Why you should choose

Chapter 13 over Chapter 7

For debtors who qualify to file a Chapter 13 plan, Chapter 13 provides them with the tools to help level the playing field with their creditors.

Chapter 7 (liquidation) allows debtors to discharge certain of their obligations, but not all obligations.  Chapter 7 debtors are not required to make monthly payments to a trustee.

Chapter 13 debtors are required to commit all their disposable income to the trustee for a determined period of time ( 3 to 5 years), but receive a broader discharge than the one a debtor receives in Chapter 7.   While the plan form in each jurisdiction is the same in each Chapter 13 case, each case is different based on the needs and obligations of the debtors.

Chapter 7 Chapter 13
Type of bankruptcy Liquidation Reorganization
Who can file? Individuals and businesses Individuals only, but includes sole proprietorships
Eligibility restrictions Income must meet the requirements of 11 U.S.C. 707 (Means Test)
  1. Individual
  2. Regular income
  3. Cannot have secured debt that exceeds $1,257,850.00 nor unsecured debt that exceeds $419,275.00.
How long does it take to get a discharge? Generally 3 to 5 months Generally 3 to 5 years
What happens to property in the case? Property which the debtor cannot exempt can be sold by the trustee for payment to creditors Debtor retains property; must pay into the plan an amount equal to the value of the unexempt assets
Can remove junior liens on overencumbered property? No Yes, by Adversary Proceeding
Reduce interest rate or principal balance on debt? Maybe if the creditor agrees to it in a reaffirmation agreement.  An approved reaffirmation agreement causes the debt to continue once the bankruptcy case is closed.  The debt is NOT discharged and the debtor is subject to state law collection means if there are missed payments after the Yes, the debtor may “cram down” many types of claims in a Chapter 13 plan and may even reduce the interest rate on claims that are not subject to “cram down.”
Benefits Debtors may discharge most consumer debts; fresh start Debtors retain their property, cure arrearages and maintain payments on significant assets such as the mortgage or car payments; can discharge pre-petition priority tax debt if paid in full—without interest and penalty–over the life of the plan; can discharge divorce settlement agreements; Fresh start
Drawbacks Reaffirmation agreements—allowing the debtor to retain certain collateral and repay creditor—are controlled by the creditor.  If a creditor doesn’t want to make an agreement and wants repossession instead, the debtor cannot force a reaffirmation agreement;

Chapter 7 vs Chapter 13

For debtors who qualify to file a Chapter 13 plan, Chapter 13 provides them with the tools to help level the playing field with their creditors.

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