Putting Teeth In “Surrender” Under Chapter 13

Congratulations to Boot Camp graduate David Baker who’s article was published in the NACTT journal (Issue: July/August/September n NACTT QUARTERLY n Vol.26, No.4 n 2014).

The article ends with.

…I believe that chapter 13 trustees should encourage the use of this provision in plans. Standing trustees have specific statutory duties, as stated in §1302(b). These include appearing and being heard as to con- firmation issues, as the Rosa court, supra, noted. They also have the duty to “advise, other than on legal matters, and assist the debtor in performance under the plan”, as stated in subsection (b)(4). This last duty requires a certain amount of tight-rope walking, as what constitutes “legal matters” can be hard to discern. I see no reason, however, why a trustee cannot suggest that a plan include a “vesting” provision if the plan already has a “surrender” pro- vision. As the First Circuit’s decisions cited herein make clear, “surrender”, by itself, accomplishes very little, but “vesting” can be a powerful tool for a debtor to obtain the fresh start contemplated by Congress. See generally Marrama v. Citizens Bank of Massa- chusetts, 127 S.Ct. 1105 (2007).