Bankruptcy: The Trustee's Role

Posted on: 29 May 2015

Bankruptcy can be imagined as a series of steps, or a process. It can take months from the time you make your decision to file for bankruptcy until the final declaration. In between those times, you will be preparing to file by gathering your financial paperwork and formally filing with the court. A key player throughout the bankruptcy process is the trustee, a court appointed official who will be overseeing your bankruptcy. Read on for important information about this part of your bankruptcy process.

Your first encounter with the trustee might be at the meeting of the creditors, also called the 431 meeting. The trustee normally presides over this meeting, where you will answer questions about your financial affairs under oath. This meeting is brief and usually uneventful, but if the trustee needs further information, or if a creditor is questioning any information, additional meetings could be scheduled.

Seizing non-exempt assets is part of the trustee's job, and this sometimes includes visiting your home personally, although he may send a representative instead. You will be expected to fully cooperate and be present at this visit. The visit will be scheduled well in advance, and there will never be any property taken from your home. The trustee will ensure that you have not neglected to list valuable property in your bankruptcy paperwork. Photographs will be taken and you may be asked for more information if anything arouses the trustee's suspicions.

The most important aspect of the role of the trustee in your bankruptcy is the relationship between your financial assets and how the trustee is compensated. Your non-exempt property, which is property that is part of your bankruptcy, can be seized and sold to satisfy your creditors. This is a primary duty of the trustee, and his compensation is based on a percentage of how much he can recover. The law allows for him to take a 25% commission on the first $5,000.00, 10% for $5,000.00 to $50,000 and 5% of $50,000 up to $1,000,000. The less non-exempt property you have, the less interest the trustee will take in your case.

As you can see, the trustee fills a very important role. You should have no reason to be nervous about the trustee if you have been honest and forthcoming about your financial affairs, and soon you will be on your way to a fresh start. Your bankruptcy attorney will guide you through every step of the way toward your new financial future. For more information, contact Donald T Tesch, PS or a similar legal professional.