How the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee Pays Creditors

Learn about making payments to the Chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee.

In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you pay the Chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee the monthly payment required by your Chapter 13 repayment plan. The trustee will pay creditors the proper percentage from your payments. Here's how it all works.

Making Payments Before Chapter 13 Plan Approval

You won’t wait until the court confirms (approves) your plan to start making your proposed plan payment. You’ll start paying the Chapter 13 trustee within a month after filing.

Although it might seem counterintuitive to make payments before plan approval, the rule makes sense because it:

  • provides an incentive to calculate the right payment
  • helps ensure good faith use of the bankruptcy process, and
  • lets you complete your 36- or 60-month plan on time.

Keep in mind that the trustee will take action to dismiss your case if you fall behind on your payments.

How to Pay the Chapter 13 Trustee

Here’s an easy way to make sure that you pay the trustee on time: After the court sends you the trustee’s name, check the trustee’s website for payment instructions (or call the office). You’ll want to know:

  • when the first payment is due
  • where to send your payment, and
  • whether to pay by check, money order, cashier’s check, or in some other manner.

The court will also send you the date for the 341 meeting of creditors shortly after you file. If the court schedules the creditor’s meeting date for less than a month later, the trustee will likely explain the payment procedure at the meeting. For instance, you might get payment address stickers, or receive other instructions.

Continuing Payments After Chapter 13 Plan Confirmation

After you file your plan, both the trustee and creditors will have an opportunity to object the provisions. You’ll respond to any objections and the bankruptcy judge will decide whether to approve your plan at a Chapter 13 confirmation hearing.

Once confirmed, you’ll pay the amount approved in the confirmed plan by following the procedures in place in your district. You might continue to mail payments to the Chapter 13 trustee. If you’re working, the court might order your employer to withdraw the payment directly out of your paycheck and forward it to the Chapter 13 trustee through a wage deduction order.

How the Chapter 13 Trustee Pays Your Creditors

Depending on your court’s procedures, initial payments will likely be limited to your attorney’s fees and secured claims, such as your mortgage and car loan, until the court approves the plan and signs a confirmation order.

After confirmation, payments will be expanded to include unsecured creditors—such as credit card balances, medical bills, and personal loans—under the terms of your plan. First, however, the trustee will review the proof of claim forms submitted by your creditors.

Find out about the different types of creditor claims in bankruptcy.

Making Sure Creditors Receive Trustee Bankruptcy Payments

Most Chapter 13 trustees maintain a website that can be used to see an accounting of the payments made by you to the trustee and the disbursements made to your creditors.

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