Can they just have us pay it off if we were never told or signed any paperwork saying this could happen? 10 Answers as of October 28, 2015

We hired an attorney for our chapter 13 bankruptcy then was told we were given a new attorney because our old one stopped practicing. Now our new attorney doesn't talk to us and doesn't answer calls. Also my hubby was awarded a little bit of money after being injured so we tried to use it to pay off our bankruptcy and when we did all of a sudden, they are trying to change our amount and not let us pay it off. Is this right?

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Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
No. Complaint to the state bar.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/28/2015
Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
If your attorney isn't returning your calls, leave a message that you'll file an ethics complaint unless she/he speaks with you. Generally, they will not let you pay off your plan with a lump sum unless it's a 100% plan.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 10/20/2015
Richard B. Jacobson & Associates, LLC | Richard B. Jacobson
The actions of which you complain might or might not be appropriate. Your account is not really clear enough for me to form an adequate impression of what has happened and what, if anything has been improper. I am tempted to guess at the facts and offer an opinion, but I truly feel there is too much more to know. You might want to try to re-frame your question with more detail. Good Luck.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 10/20/2015
Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
It could be depending on exemptions and how much time you have paying into your plan.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 10/19/2015
D.J. Rausa, Attorney at Law | D.J. Rausa
Sometimes the trustee will not allow you to pay a large sum of money into a case because of the % of distribution to the unsecured creditors, and the applicable commitment period. It is like a penalty for paying off the case too early. A more detailed analysis of your case needs to be conducted. You should contact a local bankruptcy attorney.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/19/2015
    Law Office of Michael Johnson
    Law Office of Michael Johnson | Michael Johnson
    yes as the pi settlement is non exempt funds.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 10/19/2015
    A Fresh Start
    A Fresh Start | Dorothy G Bunce
    In many communities, unless you pay off all of the claims filed in your Chapter 13 case, plus all of the administrative costs, making a lump sum payment will not allow you to complete the Plan early. Instead, as you now are discovering, the Trustee accepted your payment as a bonus. Clearly having made this decision without obtaining legal advice first was a mistake.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 10/19/2015
    J.M. Cook, P.A. | J.M. Cook
    If your attorney has stopped practicing, you can't be given a new atty. You have to accept a new atty and have the right to find one of your own. However, if you have received funds during the case, your payments could go up so this is not irregular.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 10/19/2015
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Marjorie Guymon
    I recommend you have a qualified attorney look at your paperwork in detail. Your matter is too complex to address in an email. You do have the right to discuss it with your attorney and if they are not being helpful you have the right to fire them and hire new counsel.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 10/19/2015
    Freeman Law Group, LLC
    Freeman Law Group, LLC | Derek Freeman
    There are really two issues to your question - the transfer of your case to another attorney without your consent, and the increase in chapter 13 plan payments. For the first issue, an attorney can't just shuffle off your case to another attorney. He must withdraw from your case, and to do that he needs authorization from the court. Unless, of course, the attorney he hands your case over to is part of the same law firm. The court considers the law firm your attorney, not the individual within the law firm, so if another attorney within the same law firm takes over your case, the court doesn't usually see a problem. Still, your attorney would need to get authorization from you to transfer your case over to this other attorney. If that didn't happen, I think most courts would consider the original attorney to be your current attorney. This is an ethical question, not a bankruptcy question. Your state's bar could answer this question for you fairly easily. As to the second issue, the judgment awarded to you is considered an increase in income. The bankruptcy trustee will look at this increase in income and demand an increase in plan payments. Unless your plan calls for 100% payout to unsecured creditors, there is no way to complete the plan at an earlier date. The plan was confirmed by the court after much debate and possibly litigation, so it's not going to be cast aside so easily. Chances are, the trustee will demand the nonexempt portion of the judgment awarded your husband, and then demand that you continue making the plan payments in the amount ordered by the court, for the duration ordered by the court.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 10/19/2015
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