We take extra care to make sure these links are up to date. However, web site addresses can change. If a link below is not working, try visiting the main bankruptcy court website and looking for Local Forms or Local Rules from the main page. If you have a moment, we would appreciate you letting us know of the broken link so we can fix it on this web page. Click here to contact us.

Eastern District Bankruptcy Court

Eastern District Local Forms and Templates
Eastern District Local Rules

Northern District Bankruptcy Court
Northern District Local Forms and Templates
Northern District Local Rules

Southern District Bankruptcy Court
Southern District Local Forms and Templates
Southern District Local Rules
Southern District Chapter 13 Plan

Western District Bankruptcy Court
Western District Local Forms and Templates
Western District Local Rules
Western District Chapter 13 Plan (Rochester Only)

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CHAPTER 13 PLAN INSTRUCTIONS

Why Are Local Forms Necessary if Bankruptcy is Federal Law?

Local forms can be confusing at first. However, you need to remember that the United States government was developed in a manner so that each individual state could govern itself. Although Federal Law takes precedence over State Law, the Federal forms of a bankruptcy petition remain standard throughout all 50 states. But, some state laws require additional State forms to be included along with the Federal forms when a bankruptcy petition is filed. That is why you need to keep up-to-date on the local rules of any bankruptcy court you are working in when preparing bankruptcy petitions.

Why If My Bankruptcy Court Does Have a Chapter 13 Plan on Their Website?

Not all bankruptcy courts have a required format for their Chapter 13 Plan. If the bankruptcy court you are preparing a bankruptcy petition for does not have a Chapter 13 Plan form listed in the links above or under “Local Forms” on the courts website, you should be able to use the standard Chapter 13 Plan included free with the bankruptcy software you purchased.

Should You Buy Local Forms for Your Bankruptcy Software?

The choice is up to you. However, I believe it is important for you to understand all the facts so that you can make an informed decision before spending your money to purchase something that is available to you free.

Most bankruptcy software programs provide you with a standard Chapter 13 Plan when you select a specific bankruptcy jurisdiction for the bankruptcy court you are preparing a bankruptcy petition for. However, the company who developed the software also sells additional local forms that you can purchase separately. Some of these local forms are $150 to $300 each; which can get quite expensive if your law firm practices in several jurisdictions.

Therefore, keep in mind that when the federal government requires a specific form to be submitted with a bankruptcy petition, the court will post the form on their website. Often, these forms are available in Word, WordPerfect and almost always PDF format. In fact, the PDF is the best form to use because it is form-fillable. This means, you simply download the form, click on a blank area and begin typing. In fact, some of the bankruptcy courts even provide Chapter 13 Plan forms that are not only form-fillable but they also do calculations for you.

Why Do Bankruptcy Software Companies Charge For Free Forms?

Bankruptcy software companies are not actually selling you the form. Instead, you are paying for the ability to have the form appear inside your bankruptcy software program. Plus the purchased forms normally will perform calculations within your bankruptcy software program. In other words, purchasing Chapter 13 Plans and additional court forms as “add ons” through the company who you purchased your bankruptcy software from is more of a convenience; it certainly is not a requirement.

What If You Don’t Have a Registered Version of Adobe Acrobat?

Normally it doesn’t matter if you have a registered version of Adobe Acrobat or not. The PDFs that you download from the bankruptcy court’s website are viewable in Adobe Reader (which is free.) You simply download the document, click on SAVE AS, and name the document something like Chapter13Plan. When you develop a Chapter 13 Plan for a client, you will want to SAVE the document under the name of something like Chapter13Plan_JohnDoe.pdf. Then, you will fill in the PDF form and save it in John Doe’s file on your computer for filing electronically with the bankruptcy petition.

What Do I Do With Documents in MS Word or WordPerfect Instead of PDF?

If you have Microsoft Word or WordPerfect, you can convert any document to a PDF within the software program. This function also eliminates the expense of purchasing Adobe Acrobat.

However, do not underestimate the power of the registered version of Adobe Acrobat. I have the Professional Version and I absolutely love it. I use my Adobe for developing eBooks that I sell on the internet as well as the development of fillable forms. But, if you are going to only use Adobe for reading PDF documents, filling in forms that have already been developed and saving the documents for filing with the bankruptcy court, you will not need to purchase the registered version of Adobe Acrobat.

How Do I Get the PDF Into My Bankruptcy Software?

Personally, I have never had any success at inserting a PDF into the bankruptcy software and having it file the document correctly. Instead, you will need to file the Chapter 13 Plan that you download from this website separately through PACER.

How to File a Chapter 13 Plan through PACER

You will need to know the case number to file the Chapter 13 Plan so the Plan and Certificate of Service (if applicable) may only be filed after the Chapter 13 case is open and the number assigned.

File the Chapter 13 Plan and the Certificate of Service (if applicable) together as one document. Have it prepared and saved as a PDF document.

Step 1 Login to PACER under the attorney’s ECF login.

Step 2 Click Bankruptcy on the Main Menu Bar.
Step 3 Select the Plan Category
Step 4 Check your case number and Click Next.
Step 5 Click on Chapter 13 Plan event and Click Next.
Step 6 Unless you are filing this document with another attorney, Click Next.

Step 7 Select the Party Screen will open. Highlight the debtor(s) and click next.
Step 8 Click on the Browse button to locate your document. Once verified, highlight it and click Open. Note: Do not use the attachment feature for the Certificate of Service. Keep the document together as a single document.
Step 9 Modify the text using the drop down boxes to indicate whether you have included the required certificate of service and click next.
Step 10 Proofread your entry and Click Next.

If you have any problems, feel free to call the bankruptcy court and ask them to help you. Most bankruptcy court employees are more than willing to help because they would rather you do the job right, versus them finding an error, contacting the bankruptcy attorney and starting over again. They realize it is a time-saver for them to help you so do not be afraid to call. Just remember to be courteous, appreciative and gracious. Thank them for their time and let them know you appreciate them.

How to Prepare Bankruptcy Petitions Without Buying Bankruptcy Software

Before using this method, I must warn you that the process will be more time consuming. Bankruptcy software automates many processes which in turn saves you a great deal of time. For example: If you fill out each individual Form and Schedule in a bankruptcy petition there is a lot of information you must enter over and over again (such as the debtor’s name.) Also, you will have to do your own mathematical calculations compared to bankruptcy software programs that do that for you.

There are many other pluses to purchasing bankruptcy software but you can decide for yourself which method you prefer to use. If you want to download the fill-in-the-blank Federal Bankruptcy Forms, visit:
http://www.uscourts.gov/bkforms/bankruptcy_forms.html#official

Summary

My goal in providing this information to you is to save you $1,000s of dollars versus purchasing local forms offered by the major bankruptcy software companies. You should always keep in mind that Federal and State Bankruptcy Forms are provided free of charge to the public. Just like bankruptcy filing information is available for public knowledge. You should never be forced to pay for Federal and State Forms regardless if it is for incorporating your business, copyrighting a book, preparing income taxes or bankruptcy petitions, or any other Federal or State form required by the government. However, if you choose to purchase the forms, at least you will be making an informed decision and not being taken advantage of because you were not aware Federal and State forms were available free.

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