Robert S. Thomas II, Chapter 13 Trustee
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND

ATTORNEYS

NEW MARYLAND FORM PLAN, NEW BANKRUPTCY RULES AND LOCAL RULES

Effective December 1, 2017

The US Supreme Court recently authorized a number of significant changes to the procedural rules applicable to bankruptcy proceedings.  Absent Congressional intervention, which appears unlikely, the new rules will take effect on December 1, 2017.  The amendments will most impact, debtors and creditors dealing with consumer debtors in Chapter 13 cases, creating new deadlines for filing proofs of claim and allowing debtors to prosecute challenges to secured creditor claims through the plan submission and confirmation process.

The United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland has approved, effective December 1, 2017, amendments to Local Bankruptcy Rules 3012-1, 3012-2, 3015-1, 3015-2, 3015-4, 4001-3, and 4003-2; Local Forms H, L, M (Chapter 13 Plan), M-1, and M-2; and Appendix F to the Local Bankruptcy Rules. To view the Administrative Order implementing the amendments and a redlined copy of the amended rules and forms, please look under "FORMS/LINKS".

PLAN PAYMENTS.

 The first plan payment is due within 30 days from the filing date of the petition and every 30 days thereafter unless that date is changed. 11 U.S.C. §1326.  This is the DUE DATE. Your clients’ first chapter 13 payment is due within 30 days of the case filing.  U.S.C. §1326.   It is imperative that your clients begin making their chapter 13 plan payments within the 30 days and prior to the first meeting of creditors. 


WAGE DEDUCTIONS.

The trustee strongly recommends you consider with your clients filing a pre-confirmation wage motion.   This is best manner to ensure your clients payments are made and will help move the case to confirmation and the payment of your attorneys’ fees.  While it is in everyone's best interest that all debtors who are employed make their Chapter 13 plan payments by payroll deduction, there are debtors who have income other than wages who cannot have a wage order in their case. The Trustee is asking all counsel to strongly encourage their clients who must make direct plan payments to use the online payment option which is available www.TFSBillPay.com. Please note that when debtors mail payments that sometimes the payments are not received timely. This can cause issues in the case and from counsel's standpoint it can result in a delay in processing attorney fees. If payments are received late counsel will not receive those payments for an additional 30 or 60 days. The online payment option updates nightly and is posted to the case the next day. The Trustee is asking all counsel to educate their clients who must make direct payments to do so online via TFS.

341 MEETINGS AND DOCUMENTATION.

Chapter 13, the debtor must provide the Trustee at least seven days before the date first set for the Section 341 meeting of creditors a copy of the Federal income tax return (or transcript of the tax return) filed for the most recent tax year.  See 11 U.S.C. §521(e)(2)(A)(i). The Trustee would recommend that the attorneys practicing in the Baltimore Bankruptcy Court comply with this statutory requirement by providing the tax return to the Trustee immediately upon the filing of the Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition via the Document Delivery Portal. The Trustee would also recommend that you provide your clients’ paystubs/pay advices or any documentation demonstrative of their income for the 60 days prior to the filing via the Document Delivery Portal.   If your client has a non-filing spouse please also provide proof of their income.   This will help speed up the Trustee’s review and help move the case to confirmation. If the debtor  fails to comply, the Trustee may seek dismissal of the case.

341 MEETING OF CREDITORS.

A. The § 341 Meeting of Creditors is set by the bankruptcy court and conducted by the Trustee’s office as appointed by the United States Trustee. The Debtor(s) must appear at each 341 meeting.

B. All documents must be provided to the Trustee’s office at least seven (7) days prior to the 341 meeting. Any documents received less than seven (7) days prior to the 341 meeting may not be reviewed and may cause the 341 meeting of creditors to be held and  continued in order to give the Trustee’s office adequate time to review the documentation.

C. At each 341 Meeting Debtor(s) must bring the following:

- Original Social Security Card, medical insurance card, pay stub, W-2 form, IRS form 1099, or a Social Security Administration (SSA) Statement, and

- Government issued photo identification.

Failure to bring the above items may result in the 341 meeting being continued.

D. All 341 meetings will be conducted in English, unless a translator is requested seven days prior to the 341 meeting. The translator will be provided free of charge.  Failure to notify the Trustee may result in a delay of the 341 Meeting of Creditors.

 Document Delivery Portal for Submitting 341 Information to the Chapter 13 Office.

The Trusteeship will begin using a document submission portal provided by EPIQ Systems to receive 341information. Many counsel who practice in multiple jurisdictions already use the portal system. The portal is better than the current e-mail system as there is not a limit on how much data can be submitted at one time. Attorneys will be receiving the needed invitation for counsel to enroll in the portal system this month.   You may also contact our office for instructions or the invitation.

NEW TRUSTEE 341QUESTIONNAIRE.

The Trustee’s office will provide a simple questionnaire to be completed by your clients at the 341 meeting room.  They are available at the tables along with pens and clipboards.  The questionnaire is available on our website.  The questionnaire asks for basic and updated information and does address the Domestic Support Certification.   Please make sure this questionnaire is completed and submitted to the Trustee at the First Meeting of Creditors.

FIRST MEETING OF CREDITORS - 341 CONTINUANCES.

The Trustee’s office will still require the request for 341 continuance form to be submitted to our office.  The Form is available on our website or from our office.  Emergency or last minute requests may also be requested via phone, or email to the Trustee or our office prior to the scheduled 341 meeting.   We will no longer require additional information or “reasons” for the request.   You will still be required to file the Notice and Circulate the Notice to Creditors.    The Trustee’s office may also continue the Confirmation Date depending on the length of the continuance.   

  

MOTIONS TO INCUR DEBT/ PURCHASE VEHICLES.

The Trustee’s office does not generally take a position on whether to approve or disapprove your clients Motion to Incur Debt or Purchase Vehicles.  The Trustee’s office will still require the standard Motion To Incur Debt or Motion To Purchase Vehicle to be filed and circulated.   The Trustee’s office will not require paystubs or Amended Official Forms 106I or 106J (Schedule I: Income and Schedule J: Expenses).  Provided the request does not materially alter or affect the Debtors’ ability to perform under their Chapter 13 plan – the Trustee’s office will not likely oppose and will likely file “a Line of No Opposition”.   Emergency requests should be made directly to the Case Administrator or Trustee directly as we have a developed a basic form for these situations. 

WAGES ORDERS AND PLAN PAYMENTS.

 The Trustee’s office recommends that Attorneys’ consider getting a Wage Order started as soon as the case is filed.  For now, you need to file a Motion Requesting a Pre-Confirmation Wage Order with the Court.  A copy of the form is available on our website.  You should review the employer’s address on Official Form 106I (Schedule I) and provide the specific payroll address.   In joint cases, be sure to communicate to the Trustee’s office as to which Debtor is getting the wage order.  During the confirmation process, please make sure the employment status and address is still correct.  Please instruct your client to make all plan payments until they see the deductions coming out of their paycheck.  There can be a few months lag between confirmation and when the employer begins the deductions and funds are forwarded to the Trustee.  Throughout the life of the case, it is helpful to continue to keep current your client’s employment.  The faster an amended wage order can be communicated the smaller possible default in your cases will be realized.   The Trustee will always consider motions for Direct Pay when Debtors’ have work sensitive issues or they were recently employed.  It is imperative that you communicate with our office and file the necessary Motion for Direct pay.   

 

FORMS/links

341 Meeting Dates - 341 Meeting Dates for 2017....

341 Meeting Continuance - 341 Meeting Continuance Form....

341 Information Form - To be filled out at the 341 meeting

Chapter 13 Plan - Chapter 13 Plan Effective December 1, 2017

Chapter 13 Plan Supplement (522) - Chapter 13 Plan Supplement, Valuing a Claim or Avoiding a Lien under 11 U.S.C. 522

Chapter 13 Plan Supplement (506) - Chapter 13 Plan Supplement Valuing a Claim or Avoiding a Lien under 11 U.S.C. §506

Bankruptcy Rules and Forms - Bankruptcy Rules and Forms Effective December 1, 2017

Certificate of Service Chapter 13 Plan - Certificate of Service of Chapter 13 Plan Effective December 1, 2017

Required Debtor Documentation - Documentation to be provided by all Chapter 13 debtors.

Business Questionnaire - Business owners, please complete the entire business questionnaire for each business

Website Access Agreement - Website Agreement for Bankruptcy Link Website Access

Domestic Support Obligations (DSO) -Information & Certification Regarding Domestic Support Obligations 

BAPCPA Pre-confirmation Certificate  - Form available directly from the Bankruptcy Court's website.

BAPCPA Affidavit Prior to Discharge  - Form available directly from the Bankruptcy Court's website.

Chapter 13 Plan  - Form available directly from the Bankruptcy Court's website.

Debtors Motion for Pre-confirmation Wage Order  - Form available directly from the Bankruptcy Court's website.

Secured Loan Modification Request  - Form available directly from the Bankruptcy Court's website.

Form Q  - Form available directly from the Bankruptcy Court's website.

Home Affordable Modification Program - The Making Home Affordable Program is a critical part of the government’s effort to stabilize the housing market and help struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure. The Making Home Affordable Program provides an opportunity for eligible homeowners in bankruptcy to modify their mortgage to make their payments more affordable through the Home Affordable Program.


 

Debtor Information - Information for Debtor initiation and orientation.

Obtaining Continuances - This link provides Pro Se debtors and attorneys with our Request for Continuance policies.

HAMP Information is Available - New information concerning the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP)

Electronic Remittance of Plan Payments - Our office has partnered with Nationwide TFS, to provide Chapter 13 debtors an option to to make their plan payments electronically.