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Created By : Stacy B Miller
On 8th Dec,20
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“If you fail to please bankruptcy trustee, you’ll fail to discharge debts”

Be it chapter 7 bankruptcy or chapter 13, you can’t avoid meeting at least one person and that is Bankruptcy trustee. Whether you like it or not, he will test your financial health at different stages of bankruptcy. The first stage is when you file bankruptcy. He will analyze your financial situation and then decide what’s the best way to deal with it. The second stage will come when you’ve to attend the creditors meeting (also known as 341 hearing) wherein you’ll have to answer various questions regarding the information contained in your paperwork.

The trustee's role in personal bankruptcy

A Bankruptcy trustee is an important factor in resolving your bankruptcy issues. An attorney will guide you through the process of bankruptcy but the court appoints a trustee to oversee your bankruptcy procedure. He is assigned by the court in order to see that the process works out smoothly and you do not face any legal complications.

With the help of a bankruptcy trustee you can resolve your bankruptcy case without facing legal hassles. He has specific roles with regard to Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Therefore before you opt for bankruptcy filing, it is better that you are informed of the roles and responsibilities of a trustee. The first stage is when you file bankruptcy. He will analyze your financial situation and then decide what’s the best for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases. The information will help you to handle your personal bankruptcy cases better!

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

When you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the court assigns a trustee randomly from a panel of lawyers. Here their main work involves selling the property and distributing the procured amount among your creditors. The trustee also holds a “341 meeting” with the debtors where the debtors actual financial conditions and assets possession are confirmed. If there is any nonexempt property, assets, or items in the existing list, it is seized by the trustee in order to pay off the other debts. The process of distribution is invigilated by the trustee.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

The role of the trustee is a bit different when you file Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead of Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Here too the debtor’s financial situation, assets and financial affairs is analyzed in a 341 meeting. But unlike Chapter 7 bankruptcy here the trustee does not take away any of their assets. The trustee mainly analyzes the situation and offer plans for restructuring your finances. They try all possible restructuring options so that you can make some amount of repayments at least. Sometimes they also offer financial counseling services that help you to stay out of debts in future.

However it is to be remembered that a bankruptcy trustee cannot function effectively without your active support. A number of things need to be followed in order to increase the efficiency and smoothness of the procedure. The jerks in the process are taken care of by the trustee through legal means.

As a first step you have to remember that it is their job to guide you through the procedure and they derive no pleasure out of your distress. You should be considerate while dealing with the trustees and avoid throwing unnecessary anger and accusations on them.

Their primal responsibilities include selecting the assets which can be sold off in order to pay back your creditors. While dealing with a bankruptcy trustee you need to be honest about your assets listing. You need to be accurate about the assets you hold because if you report them inaccurately, it may be counted as criminal offense.

If you want to handle your bankruptcy procedure smoothly working in consideration with the trustees is a great option. It is important that you keep your trustee updated about the changes in your case. Your bankruptcy attorney will take care of any legal issues. But having your trustees trust all along acts as additional advantage. Bankruptcy procedure can be quite a complicated job but following the legal path makes things seem easier. With active support from a trustee and a lawyer getting rid of your debts becomes an easy job. You can not only understand your options well but can also avoid any serious mistakes. It is just a matter of how you manage things that actually matter. With prudent decisions and matured take on things you can easily get rid of debts and avoid any issues in the future.

Questions trustee will throw at you before bankruptcy filing

  1. Do you happen to spend more than your income?
  2. Can you at least make minimum payments on credit cards?
  3. What kind of debts do you owe?
  4. How much assets do you have?
  5. Are you facing any legal actions from creditors?
  6. Are you receiving too many collection calls?
  7. Have you received any wage garnishment notice?

Questions trustee will surely ask you during 341 meeting

  1. Do you know what information is there in your bankruptcy paperwork?
  2. What is your name, present home address and cell phone number?
  3. Have you gone through your petition and schedule before signing the paperwork?
  4. Have you listed all your assets?
  5. Have you properly listed all your debts?
  6. Do you confirm that the information you’ve given in your paperwork is true?
  7. Have you listed all your creditors in the bankruptcy schedule?
  8. How did you evaluate the value of your assets?
  9. Are you filing bankruptcy for the first time?
  10. How much is your gross monthly income?
  11. Have you insured your home or your vehicle?
  12. Have you made any changes in your petition?
  13. Do you have to pay alimony or child support?
  14. Have you filed your due income tax returns? Did you enclose the requisite papers?
  15. Do you run any business or corporation?
  16. Have you transferred some of your assets to another person in the past 2 years? If yes, then what did you do with the money? Why did you transfer or sell your assets?
  17. Can you tell us about the last time you used your credit card to buy anything?
  18. Do you have any trustee, trustor or a beneficiary?
  19. When did you refinance your mortgage for the last time?
  20. Did you send payments to creditors whom you owe more than $600 in the last year?
  21. Did you go through through US Trustee’s Bankruptcy information sheet?
  22. When did you buy your home and at what price?
  23. What is the name and contact details of your boss?
  24. Do you have any kind of personal injury claim or any other claim against anyone?
  25. Will you receive financial windfall next year or in the next 6 months?
  26. Are you expecting to get life insurance proceeds soon?
  27. How much is the cash value of insurance policies you’ve bought?
  28. Why is your financial condition so bad?
  29. Did you meet any accident or have any property damage last year?
  30. Do you have any credit cards now?
  31. Are you doing any job?
  32. Does anyone owe you money and how much?
  33. Does anyone hold your property? What is the name of that person? What is the current market value of that property?

If you owned a business in the past 6 years, then the trustee may throw questions regarding:

  1. How did you calculate the value of your business?
  2. What type of business did you have?
  3. Were you the sole owner of the business?
  4. When did you actually start your business?

Why does bankruptcy trustee throw so many questions?

Well, bankruptcy trustee does have a big role to play in bankruptcy. He has to check the authenticity of the information you’re sharing in your paperwork. Plus, he needs to verify if you’ve any property that could possibly benefit the bankruptcy estate. So, before you go to 341 meeting, the trustee reviews your documents, asks you various questions and checks items to find out if they’re going against the bankruptcy laws.

Final thoughts

Always remember, bankruptcy trustee can throw questions that are not there in my list. The trustee can do so when he needs extra information about your business. In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can be asked about the items mentioned in the reorganization plan. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the trustee may throw questions regarding non-exempt assets and their correct value.

Last Updated on: Tue, 8 Dec 2020