Please note that we have a new office suite effective December 1, 2017. Our new address is:
K. Michael Fitzgerald
Chapter 13 Trustee
600 University St. #1300
Seattle, WA 98101-4100
Please update your records to replace our previous suite number.
Debtor payments should still be made to our bank address in Memphis, Tennessee.
Effective December 1, 2017, local and national rule and form amendments will bring significant changes to local Chapter 13 practice, particularly due to the adoption of a new local form Chapter 13 Plan. Every Chapter 13 plan, (original, amended or modified post-confirmation) that is filed on or after December 1, 2017, must be on the new form regardless of when the bankruptcy case was filed.
On Monday, October 30, 2017, the Court and Mike Fitzgerald's Chapter 13 office will jointly host an afternoon bench bar meeting to discuss these very important changes to our rules and form Chapter 13 Plan. The brown bag meeting will be held in the 51st floor conference room (Rooms 5121/5122) of the Two Union Square building located at 601 Union Street in downtown Seattle. The meeting will begin at 12:30 and is expected to conclude at 2:00, with ample time reserved for Q & A.
The Court has applied for CLE credit (1.5 hours) which is pending.
Please make every effort to attend this critical meeting.
Effective May 15, 2017, chapter 13 trustees will again pay filing fee installments from pre-confirmation plan payments in cases where the debtor is authorized to pay the filing fee in installments. The Court has vacated General Order 2017-2, which revoked the chapter 13 trustee’s authority to make the filing fee installments.
In order to accommodate concerns and business practices of the debtor bar, the chapter 13 trustees’ offices and the clerk’s office, the following procedures will apply as of May 15, 2017:
Chapter 13 installment cases filed prior to April 1, 2017, will be unaffected; the chapter 13 trustee will continue to make filing fee installment payments from pre-confirmation plan payments.
Counsel and debtors in chapter 13 installment cases filed from April 1, 2017, through May 15, 2017, may contact the chapter 13 trustee to discuss alternative arrangements for payment of the filing fee rather than tender payment directly to the clerk’s office.
In Chapter 13 installment cases filed on or after May 15, 2017, all filing fee installments are to be paid through the chapter 13 trustee’s office from pre-confirmation plan payments. Chapter 13 debtors who present installment payments to the Clerk’s office will be directed to the chapter 13 trustee’s office.
In order to avoid duplicate payment or overpayment, debtor’s counsel are strongly encouraged to educate their clients on the importance of paying the filing fee installments through the chapter 13 trustee and not to the clerk’s office.
The trustee will hold pre-confirmation monies owing on the filing fee until the entire balance, currently $210, is available. The trustee will disburse the filing fee to the clerk’s office in a single payment.
The clerk’s office will continue to monitor installment payments and issue a deficiency notice if the balance of the filing fee is not satisfied by 120 days from the filing of the petition.
General Order 2017-3, vacating General Order 2017-2
The National Association of Chapter 13 Trustees 52nd Annual Conference will be held in Seattle this year from July 12-15, at the Downtown Seattle Sheraton Hotel. The NACTT seminar has consistently been recognized as the premier consumer bankruptcy educational program available. This year’s agenda includes presentations on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, Pro Bono and Pro Se Bankruptcy Services, and Small Business Chapter 13 cases, and the program includes an excellent panel of speakers from across the country. Register early and do not miss this exceptional educational and social program.
The conference agenda and registration information are located on the NACTT website at http://nactt.com/services/events.aspx
Effective April 1, 2017, chapter 13 debtors who are approved to pay their filing fee in installments will no longer be able to pay those installments from pre-confirmation plan payments. Filing fee installment payments must be made directly to the Clerk’s office, either through counsel’s electronic payment of the fee or certified funds submitted directly by the debtor, in person or through the mail.
The Court is converting to a national financial software program that will not support the payment of filing fee installments through the chapter 13 trustee. Accordingly, General Order 2017-2, below, revokes the chapter 13 trustee’s authority to make filing fee payments from the debtor’s pre-confirmation payments effective April 1, 2017.
Chapter 13 installment cases filed prior to April 1, 2017, may continue to make installment payments through the chapter 13 trustee. For cases filed on and after April 1, 2017, if the installment application indicates that pre-confirmation plan payments are intended to be used for the filing fee, a reminder notice will be placed on the docket indicating that alternative arrangements for payment must be made. In addition, chapter 13 debtors without counsel will receive a notice by mail to alert them to the new requirements. In all installment cases the balance of the filing fee must be paid no later than 120 days from the date of the filing of the petition.
General Order No 2017-2.pdf
The Judicial Conference has approved significant revisions to the petition, schedules and statement of financial affairs. Effective December 1, 2015, it will be mandatory to use the new official forms. The old forms will not be sufficient. The Clerk’s office will issue a deficiency notice in cases where old forms are used and those cases will be subject to dismissal. More information can be found on the Clerk’s website at www.wawb.uscourts.gov