A number of things go into making sure that an appropriate amount is paid monthly to the Chapter 13 Trustee. A list of all your secured creditors is necessary, as well as any debts owed to the government such as taxes and back child support, and a determination as to how much of your unsecured debt (such as credit cards and medical bills) that needs to be paid off.
All of this information is gathered by your attorney well before a St. Louis Chapter 13 is filed. It is then the attorney’s job to figure out whether or not you need to pay back any of your unsecured debt (although the goal of course is to make sure that you only have to pay back a small portion of this kind of debt, if anything at all); what type of interest rate needs to be applied; and whether the full amount of any secured debt (like a car loan) should be paid back (because there are certain situations in which only the fair market value of the asset needs to be paid back, as opposed to the balance of the existing loan).
Other factors like attorney fees (which are typically included inside the plan) and the Trustee’s fees (which is based on a certain percentage of the total to be paid over the life of the plan) play a role as well in making the calculation.
In the end, the goal is to put an individual (or married couple) into a Chapter 13 plan that is affordable, but that also pays out an appropriate amount. Striking this balance can sometimes be difficult, but it is made easier when an experienced attorney is at the helm. If you have questions or concerns related to this issue, please contact the St. Louis bankruptcy lawyers at The Law Office of Jennifer Alter-Rieken. Our staff is eager to help you, and all phone and office consultations are free of charge.