Expenses Considered Luxuries in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

When you are in bankruptcy you are expected to be frugal with your money. This means that if you have unnecessary monthly expenses for luxury items the Chapter 13 trustee and judge may oppose approval of your Chapter 13 plan. Luxury items include but are not limited to, a boat, a motorcycle not used as primary transportation, a time share, and a country club membership. The reason they oppose these types of expenses is because money spent on these items takes away from the money available to be paid to the creditors.

Debtors who do not wish to give up these expenses are required to increase the amount provided to their unsecured creditors in their Chapter 13 plan. In some districts this may mean increasing the amount paid to these creditor by an amount equal to what is spent each month on the luxury item. In other districts the trustee will oppose any luxury expense unless all of the allowed unsecured claims are paid in the plan. Either way keeping your Harley-Davidson or your time share may be very expensive.

In some bankruptcy cases the debtor has more than enough money to pay all of their unsecured creditors and still comfortably afford the expenses associated with their luxury items. But for most debtors paying regular household expenses and the bare minimum amount required by the Chapter 13 plan is difficult without adding in additional amounts. At some point many debtors must decide whether keeping their fishing boat or providing a better financial future for their family is more important.