Besides Phoenix bankruptcy lawyers, trustees are often the most important people in bankruptcy cases. The court assigns a bankruptcy trustee to almost every consumer bankruptcy case. Whether you are filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you should expect to meet one. Bankruptcy trustees are not employees of the bankruptcy court. They are independent contractors who have various duties and powers, depending on the case, and the specific circumstance of the debtor and the creditors involved.
The Role of a Bankruptcy Trustee
Part of the trustee’s job is to review the bankruptcy petition and related documents to ensure everything done is consistent with bankruptcy rules and procedure. Your bankruptcy documents include personal and financial information about your income, debts, property and overall financial situation. Typically, you must also provide supporting documentation to the trustee, including; pay stubs, tax returns and information regarding your assets. The trustee reviews and verifies all your information. Your Phoenix bankruptcy attorney will help you ensure your paperwork is complete and filled out accurately.
A bankruptcy trustee’s job varies depending on the type of case:
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
When filing a Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy, the trustee has several primary duties. The trustee is in charge of: collecting all non-exempt property, liquidating nonexempt property, challenging creditors’ claims, distributing proceeds to individual creditors and objecting to a discharge of debts, if grounds exist.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Now, when you file a Chapter 13 reorganization bankruptcy, the role of the trustee differs. Since you keep virtually all your property, instead of collecting and selling your property to pay creditors, the trustee’s duties focus on handling your repayment plan. The trustee: reviews your proposed repayment plan, makes objection if necessary, collects required payments based on your confirmed plan, distributes payments to your creditors and ensures you are satisfying your repayment agreement.
In consumer bankruptcy cases, part of the bankruptcy trustee’s role is to review your petition and other bankruptcy paperwork to look for inaccuracies, fraud and any signs you are abusing the bankruptcy system.
Meeting of the Creditors
Bankruptcy trustees oversee and preside over the Meeting of the Creditors. You will need to be responsible for bringing in a valid photo ID, your social security card and copies of all your bankruptcy paperwork and supporting documentation. During this meeting, you will swear under oath and your trustee asks you questions about the information contained in your bankruptcy documents. Your Phoenix bankruptcy attorney also attends this meeting. They can explain or clarify something you do not understand and help with objections.
Creditor meetings are for the most part very short. Your Phoenix bankruptcy lawyer will explain that although it has the name “Meeting of the Creditors,” creditors often do not attend. Once the trustee finishes with the questioning, he or she concludes the meeting and administers any none exempt assets. A Chapter 7 discharge is usually granted by the court 60 days after the conclusion of the meeting. A Chapter 13 discharge is granted at the end of the payment plan.
Contact a Bankruptcy Attorney Today
The Phoenix bankruptcy lawyers with the Lerner and Rowe Law Group have helped clients all across the state file Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies. Our experienced bankruptcy attorneys will help you understand the bankruptcy process. We will give you all the information you need in order to determine whether bankruptcy is right for you.