CURRENT NEWS

28
PAYMENT OF FILING FEES UNDER LOCAL BANKRUPTCY RULE 1006-1

Since the implementation of Local Rule 1006-1 on December 1, 2015, Bradford W. Caraway, Chapter 13 Trustee, has taken the position that filing fees should be paid direct by the debtor or through the Trustee, but not both.  Effective immediately, the Trustee has changed his position and he will no longer object to a proposal for the partial payment of filing fees through the Trustee so long as the payments to be made through the Trustee are clearly identified on the filing fee installment application and in the special provisions of the debtor’s Chapter 13 plan.  This update is specific, and it does not change the Trustee’s position regarding other facets of the procedure for paying filing fees through the Trustee.  If you have any questions, please contact Charles King, or Mary Frances Fallaw in the Trustee’s office.


27
REGISTRATION FOR DOCUMENT DELIVERY PORTAL

Since the enactment of BAPCPA, Bradford W. Caraway, Chapter 13 Trustee, has received tax returns, pay stubs, and real estate appraisals or tax assessor statements of value (“Case Documents”) from debtors and their attorneys via email.  Between now and April 15, 2016, the Trustee’s office will transition to a Document Delivery Portal website as a better way of receiving Case Documents for your Chapter 13 clients.  Please see the attached Memo for more details, and watch for an invitation email from our office next week to register for the Document Delivery Portal.  If you have any questions, you are welcome to contact a trustee attorney in our office.


26
CONFIRMATION ORDERS


Beginning with the Confirmation Orders that are entered in the Southern Division after August 30, 2015 the following language will be inserted in the Confirmation Order:
“If this case is dismissed, any monies received prior to the order of dismissal shall be distributed according to the confirmed plan.”
This language is consistent with the longstanding practice in the Western and Southern Divisions that funds on hand with the Trustee at the time of dismissal will be distributed to debtors’ attorneys and creditors under the confirmed plan, and funds received after the date of dismissal will be returned to the debtor.  This language is already included in Confirmation Orders in the Northern and Eastern Divisions, and by adding this language to our Confirmation Order, all Confirmation Orders in the Northern District will be consistent on this issue.


25
CONVERSION REFUNDS

The following applies to Chapter 13 cases administered by Bradford W. Caraway, Chapter 13 Trustee.  Previously, when a debtor converted a case from Chapter 13 to Chapter 7, the Chapter 13 Trustee made the conversion refund check payable to the debtor but mailed the check to the Chapter 7 Trustee.  Based upon the opinion of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in In re Michael, 699 F.3d 305 (3d Cir. 2012), the Chapter 13 Trustee will mail the conversion refund checks directly to the debtor at the address of record beginning November 1, 2013.  UPDATE:  Consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Harris v. Viegelahn, 135 S.Ct. 1829 (2015), the Chapter 13 Trustee will continue to apply the procedure described above.  Please contact the Trustee's office if you have any questions.


24
CHANGE TO TRUSTEE'S PERCENTAGE FEE

Beginning with the October 2016 regular distribution, the percentage fee collected by Bradford W. Caraway, Chapter 13 Trustee, will increase to 6.85% to defray the actual, necessary expenses of his office.


23
INFORMATION REGARDING TRUSTEE'S PAYMENT ADDRESS

At one time, the Trustee utilized a lockbox facility in Tampa, FL to process Chapter 13 plan payments.  The mail forwarding service from the Tampa Post Office to the Trustee’s office has expired.  For the past 5 years, the Trustee has utilized a lockbox facility in Birmingham, AL to process plan payments.  The Trustee reminds all parties that Chapter 13 plan payments must be mailed to Bradford W. Caraway, Chapter 13 Trustee, Dept. SF 3, P.O. Box 830525, Birmingham, AL 35283-0525


22
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21
UPDATE TO TRUSTEE’S POLICY REGARDING UNCLAIMED FUNDS

Click Here to View Document


20
UPDATE TO TRUSTEE’S POLICY REGARDING THIRD PARTY CHECKS EFFECTIVE APRIL 1, 2012

Click Here to View Document


19
ANNOUNCEMENT REGARDING 341 MEETINGS

Chapter 13 creditor meetings in the Southern Division are scheduled at the following times:

9:30, 10:30 or 11:30 on Wednesday mornings for initial 341 meetings;
1:30, 2:30 or 3:30 on Wednesday afternoons for continued 341 meetings.

For the convenience of the Debtors' Bar, Bradford W. Caraway, Chapter 13 Trustee will group cases by Attorney. However, depending upon when your clients' Chapter 13 petitions were filed with the Court, an Attorney may have cases set during more than one time slot on any given Wednesday.  Please make your plans accordingly, and rest assured that the Trustee and his attorneys will attempt to proceed expeditiously through the 341 meeting dockets whenever possible.  If you have any questions, please contact Charles King, or Mary Frances Fallaw at (205) 343-4631.


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17
ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NOS. 11-01 AND 16-02

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Alabama, Southern Division, entered Administrative Order 11-01 on February 11, 2011 concerning the Sequence of Payments for the Distribution of Attorney Fees to Debtors' Attorneys by the Chapter 13 Standing Trustee.

This order was replaced by Administrative Order 16-02, which the Court entered on February 19, 2016.  This order is applicable to Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases filed in the Northern District of Alabama, Southern Division, on or after February 19, 2016.

If you have any questions about these Administrative Orders, please contact one of the attorneys in the Trustee's office.


16
ANNOUNCEMENT - EMAIL LIST FOR LOCAL ATTORNEYS
Click Here To Subscribe

Bradford W. Caraway, Chapter 13 Trustee, has created an email list to communicate with local attorneys. Through this list, the Trustee will provide updates and information about his policies and procedures, as well as general information about local Chapter 13 bankruptcy practice. To subscribe, please complete the attached form and submit it to the Trustee's office for review. In order to participate, an attorney must be admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. The provided link may also be used to unsubscribe to the email list.


15
CHANGE TO TRUSTEE'S 341 AND CONFIRMATION PREPARATION PROCESS


The changes to the Trustee's 341 and confirmation preparation process are discussed in the attached memo and will be effective beginning February 4, 2009. 
As of April 7, 2010, the second sentence of Section I.B. on Page 1 of the Trustee's Memo dated 2/4/09 shall read as follows:  "Attendance of the Debtor and the Debtor's attorney may be required for any continued meeting of creditors."  The Trustee's Memo shall otherwise remain in full force and effect.


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This paragraph intentionally omitted.


13
UNDERSTANDING THE TRUSTEE’S INTERIM STATEMENT WHEN THE DEBTOR FILES A “POT” PLAN FOR NONPRIORITY UNSECURED CREDITORS

An increasing number of Chapter 13 debtors in this Division are filing “Pot” plans, where the debtor proposes to pay a “pot” of funds to the Trustee, based upon the debtor’s disposable income, to be disbursed to creditors who file nonpriority unsecured claims.

The Trustee’s interim statement will indicate that the debtor has filed a “Pot” plan on the left side of Page 1 near the top, where it says “PERCENTAGE: POT PLAN.” 

In addition, the “APPROXIMATE BALANCE:” figure on Page 2 of the interim statement should not be used if the debtor has proposed a “Pot” plan.  All parties should instead refer to the “Needed To Complete” figure at the bottom of Page 2 of the Interim Statement to determine the amount needed to complete payment of the debtor’s “Pot” plan.  This only applies to “Pot” plans. The “APPROXIMATE BALANCE:” figure should still be used for all 100% plans and composition plans.

As a reminder, the Trustee must audit each Chapter 13 case before he can certify to the Bankruptcy Clerk that the plan has been completed by the Debtor.  In other words, the “Needed to Complete” figure in a “Pot” plan is subject to audit by the Trustee just as the “Approximate Balance” figure is subject to audit in a 100% plan or composition plan.

The information provided in this paragraph also applies to "Base" plans, which are very similar to "Pot" plans. The Trustee's interim statement should be read the same way for these two types of Chapter 13 cases.


12
How do I obtain case related information?

Case information is available from Trusteeship employees by telephone, facsimile and email during regular business hours, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Case information is also available 24 hours per day via the internet at www.bankruptcylink.com. Chapter 13 debtors and their attorneys can also access case information free of charge at www.ndc.org.  Please contact the Trustee’s office to learn more about obtaining case information online.  


11
TRUSTEE POLICY CHANGE REGARDING DEBTOR REQUESTS FOR PLAN PAYMENT REFUNDS

Effective October 1, 2007, all requests made to the Trustee for plan payment refunds must be submitted using this Form, which must be signed by the Debtor and the Debtor’s Attorney. No request over $500 will be considered. All supporting documents should be sent with the executed form. This procedure should be used only when an emergency situation has arisen that is causing severe financial difficulty for the Debtor or his/her family (maximum $500). Otherwise, the Trustee encourages Debtors and their Counsel to consider filing an appropriate motion with the Bankruptcy Court. For all Chapter 13 cases assigned to the Honorable Thomas B. Bennett, any request for a refund must be filed as a motion with the Court and Debtors should contact their attorneys for legal advice.


10
SERVICE OF REQUIRED TAX RETURNS

When serving the Trustee with copies of tax returns pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 521 or Fed. R. Bankr. Proc. 4002, the Trustee requests that properly redacted pdf's of the returns be transmitted to the Trustee’s office using the Document Delivery Portal.  Please read Section 27 of this web page for more information.  As a reminder, when the service of tax returns upon the Trustee is required, they must be served separately from any filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Clerk since the Trustee does not have access to tax returns filed in the Clerk's CM/ECF system.


9
CHANGE REGARDING CONVERSION REFUND CHECKS


In a case converted from Chapter 13 to Chapter 7, and after payment of any required fees and costs, the Chapter 13 Trustee issues a refund check (“Conversion Refund Check”) to the debtor.  Any Conversion Refund Check remaining unpaid after 90 days from the date of the check will be canceled and paid to the Bankruptcy Clerk pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 347(a).  The Chapter 13 Trustee encourages debtors to seek legal advice from their attorneys and handle Conversion Refund Checks in a timely manner before the funds are paid to the Clerk as stated above.


8
CHANGE REGARDING CERTIFICATES OF PLAN COMPLETION

Effective February 1, 2008, the office of Bradford W. Caraway, Chapter 13 Trustee will file a Certificate of Plan Completion with the Bankruptcy Clerk after the final distribution to creditors has been made, and after the Chapter 13 case has been audited. Even if the debtor makes the final plan payment early in the month, the Trustee's Certificate will not be filed until after the next regular monthly distribution cycle, when the final disbursement to creditors is made and the case is audited.


7
CHANGE REGARDING PLAN PAYMENTS MADE BY EMPLOYER CHECK, MONEY ORDER OR CASHIERS CHECK

Since April 2007, the Trustee's office has held all plan payments made by personal check for a period of 15 business days before their distribution to ensure that the funds were good. Beginning March 3, 2008, the Trustee's office will also begin holding plan payments made by employer check for a period of 15 business days to ensure that the funds are good. Beginning April 1, 2008, money orders and cashiers checks will be held for 10 business days to ensure that the funds are good. These changes will not affect plan payments made by attorney trust account check. This change could affect the timing of certain pre-confirmation adequate protection payments, depending upon the debtor's plan. As a reminder, if a debtor's personal check is returned for insufficient funds, the Trustee will assess a $10.00 returned check charge that will appear on the interim statement for the debtor's case.


6
This paragraph intentionally omitted.


5
This paragraph intentionally omitted.


4
Debtor Identification

Pursuant to 11 U.S.C. Section 521(h) and Bankruptcy Rule 4002(b)(1)(A), every individual Debtor shall bring to the meeting of creditors a picture identification issued by a governmental unit, or other personal identifying information that establishes the debtor's identity. As announced earlier this year, the Chapter 13 Trustee will request proof of identification beginning with the February 7, 2007 creditor meeting docket.


3
This paragraph intentionally omitted.


2
If my case is dismissed, do I get any money back?

In confirmed cases, funds received by the Trustee before dismissal will be paid to creditors pursuant to the Bankruptcy Code, the Confirmation Order, and other Orders of the Bankruptcy Court.  Any funds received by the Trustee after dismissal will be returned to the debtor.

In unconfirmed cases, the debtor may or may not be entitled to a refund of a portion of the money paid. Debtors should contact their attorneys for more information and legal advice.


1
Notice Regarding Interim Statements for Inactive/Closed Cases

Interim statements for Southern Division Chapter 13 cases that have been inactive or closed for more than 13 months are not available at the Courthouse or via the internet.  Any party in interest needing an interim statement for a Southern Division Chapter 13 case that has been inactive or closed for more than 13 months should contact our office at (205) 323-4631 or info@ch13bham.com.