Will The Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee Approve My Budget?

by Jerry Meadows on March 27, 2010

If you file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Dayton, the Chapter 13 Trustee will review your budgeted living expenses and determine whether they are reasonable or not, depending on your household size and your particular circumstances.  (Click here for tips on budgets.)

Your Monthly Budget Is Determined By The Size of Your Household

The Trustee  has guidelines that take into account your household size when determining whether your budget will be acceptable or not.  For a household size of one person, at present that amount is $ 2,300.00.  For additional persons making up the household, the aceptable budget amount increases.  This amount does not include your mortgage or rent, expenses for healthcare, daycare, and taxes that you pay as part of your monthly budget.  (In other words, these expenses are in addition to the budget that the Trustee will consider as acceptable.) 

Although this is a general rule, there a number of exceptions.  For instance, if someone filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Dayton wants to keep a home that has a very large mortgage, such as $ 400,000, the Trustee may approve a lesser budget than mentioned earlier in this post. 

The Chapter 13 Trustee Will Generally Approve Most Car Payments

For moderately priced vehicles, the Chapter 13 Trustee will generally approve most monthly payments, so long as the monthly payment is not a very high amount.  For luxury vehicles, the Trustee may not approve your monthly payment as reasonable.  For example, if you owe more than $ 30,000 but less than $ 40,000 at the time you file your Chapter 13 petition, you must demonstrate a good reason for you to keep the vehicle.  If the amount you owe on the vehicle is more than $ 40,000 at the time you file, the Trustee will very likely decide that there is no good reason for you to keep the vehicle, and not approve the monthly vehicle payment as a reasonable budget item.  In other words, the Trustee will almost certainly not allow you to keep your vehicle if you owe more than $ 40,000 when you file your bankruptcy petiton, and might not if you owe between $ 30,000 and $ 40,000. 

How Do Unusually Large Monthly Expenses Affect My Budget If I File Chapter 13?

If you are older and have ongoing health problems that require you to purchase expensive medications, you might be required to document what you are required to spend each month on your prescriptions.  If you know you must have surgery in the near future and you have included a projected amount as part of your monthly budget to cover your out-of-pocket expenses for the surgery, you may be required to provide proof of the need for the surgery. 

Why Do I Need To Hire an Attorney To File Chapter 13?

Anyone that qualifies to be a debtor under the Bankrutpcy Code may file Chapter 13 without the assistance of an attorney.  However, even the Administrative Office of the United States Courts strongly recommends hiring an attorney (click here), due to the complexities of the Bankruptcy Code.  There are some bankruptcy petition preparers that may also assist in completing the necessary papers to file Chapter 13, they are not allowed to give out any advice whatsoever, especially legal advice.  I strongly caution against attempting to proceed without hiring an attorney, and strongly caution against using a bankruptcy petition preparer to help you prepare your Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition.  A good bankruptcy attorney will have knowledge of the Bankruptcy Code, and will be able to advise you regarding whether or not your budget will be acceptable to the Chapter 13 Trustee, or even whether or not you should or need to file Chapter 13.  Remember that bankruptcy is a legal proceding to eliminate debt.  I doubt that you would agree to have surgery unless it were to be performed by a trained, experienced and licensed surgeon.  Similarly, you should not attempt to represent yourself in Bankruptcy Court unless you are represented by a trained, experienced and licensed attorney with knowledge of the Bankruptcy Code and other areas of the law.  I have many years of experience representing clients in bankruptcy and many other areas of the law, and am licensed to practice law by the Supreme Court of Ohio.  I would be happy to sit down with you to discuss your financial situation, and the first appointment is free of charge or obligation.  Call me today at (937) 293-2392 to schedule your appointment.

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