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What to Do When You Have Missing Pay Stubs for a Bankruptcy Petition

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It’s difficult to believe that it’s been almost 2 weeks since I started packing for the 713Training seminar in Atlanta, GA, but it has.

On Day 1, we covered marketing and how to get business, and on Day 2, we held bankruptcy petition training, with a focus on Chapter 13’s.

For those that weren’t able to attend, you can checkout the marketing and petition training materials on our website:

Marketing Training:

www.713training.com/categories/Marketing-Your-Business/?sort=priceasc

Chapter 7 Training:

www.713training.com/categories/Chapter-7-Training/?sort=priceasc

Chapter 13 Training:

www.713training.com/categories/Chapter-13-Training/?sort=priceasc

I have been able to correspond with many of the attendees of the seminar and get updates on how they are making deploying what they learned to start or grow their business, and am excited for their success!

So moving along, have the debtors on the cases you have worked on, ever not submitted EVERY pay stub you need for the Means Test?

If you’ve been drafting petitions for more than oh, a week, you’re part of the chorus of laughter I hear ringing in my ears right now.

The answer to the question is…YES!  In fact, this is quite common.

So what’s the big deal?  That all depends on the jurisdiction the petition is going to be filed in.  If you’re filing in a jurisdiction that doesn’t use the Means Test, or doesn’t put much weight on it, it may not be an issue at all.

If however, you’re filing the petition in a state that does use the Means Test in they’re analysis of the case, or if you file most of your cases in a jurisdiciton that lives and breathes by the Means Test, it’s a VERY big deal, especially for cases that are borderline on whether they can file a Chapter 7 or not.

So when you have missing pay stubs, what do you do?

First off, I always ask for them.  I normally send the debtor an email with a list of everything that we need for their case, so that they have a checklist to work off of.

I then try to follow up the email with a phone call, to let the debtor know that there is an email in their inbox, so that they know to look for it, and to respond to it.

Usually the debtors are very helpful, and get any missing pay stubs to us within a few days.  Sometimes however, the debtor tells us they can’t find the missing pay stubs.

Uh-oh!  Now what?

Well, we still have a couple of options:

The next thing I do, is ask the debtors if they would talk to their employer, and ask for either a reprint or a report of the missing pay stubs.  I tell them they can just tell the payroll person that their attorney needs it, which typically gets they payroll person to take care of this quickly.  I also tell them that if they ask what the attorney needs it for, to just say “It’s a private matter”…no big deal.

If for some reason, we still come up short on pay stubs, we have a last resort…a lifeline if you will, that most trustees seem to find acceptable.  It’s called “bookends”

What are book ends?

When we’re collecting pay stubs for filing bankruptcy, we need pay stubs representing the last six full months.  With that in mind, if we have the first pay stub at the beginning of the six months we’re interested in, and the pay stub from the end of the last six months we are interested in, as well as several in between, it is likely that the amount of pay on the missing pay stub(s) could  be surmised, and used for reporting of income.

Fortunately this bookending of pay stubs is not usually necessary, but it’s a good tool to have in your tool belt when needed.

Have a terrific week!

Sincerely,

-The 713 Training Team

DISCLAIMER: We at 713 Training are not attorneys; any information provided by 713 Training should not be considered legal advice.  The information in this article, and any other materials provided by 713 Training, whether delivered verbally, written or via any other means, including electronic/digital delivery and storage, is for training purposes only, and is intended for individuals who work under the direction of a licensed attorney.