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Hopefully you are reading this because you have made it to the end of your Chapter 13 Plan.  Maybe you just got the Notice of Completion of Plan Payments.  Now it is time to get your discharge and have your case closed.

Congratulations.  A Chapter 13 Plan is not an easy thing to complete.

Notice of Completion of Plan Payments

When you have made all your payments the Trustee will file a Notice of Completion of Plan Payments.  This will start the closing process.  This process will usually take about 45 to 60 days.  It may take a few weeks for the payments coming out of your pay to stop so make sure you budget for this.  You will get the overpayments back, but it will take a few months.

The Affidavit of Discharge

The Trustee will then send you an Affidavit of Discharge to complete.  We will help you complete this form and file it with the Court.  The Court will then do an audit.  They will make sure you completed the second credit counseling course.  The Trustee will also have to make sure all the checks sent to creditors have cleared and that you have turned over any required tax refunds.

The Order of Discharge

Next the Court will issue the Order of Discharge.  This is issued about 4 weeks after the Affidavit of Discharge is filed.  This order is short and simple.  It just says the discharge has been granted.  It doesn’t even list the creditors who were included.  If you have student loans that were included in the plan you will need to get back on a payment plan for any amount you still owe.  About a month after this you will get the Court notices closing the case.  First you will get the Trustee’s Final Report.  A few days later the Court will issue the Final Decree and Close of Bankruptcy Case.

Make the Most of Your Fresh Start

To make the most of the fresh start you get from completing your bankruptcy there are some steps you need to take.  If you check your credit score you might find it has improved while your case is pending.  Now we need you to reestablish some credit. To work on this see our Bankruptcy & Your Credit – How to Rebuild It.

If you haven’t done so already, you should also get into the habit of doing a financial review.  See our post 5 Easy Steps To Protect Your Family From Legal Troubles for a guide on steps you take take to get your affairs in order.  Keep in mind that if you have a legal problem we probably have a lawyer who can help.  Just give us a call.