The Bankruptcy Administrator: What Filers Should Know

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, you may not be concerned with who will preside over your case. However, this person, known as the bankruptcy trustee, has a lot of power over how your Chapter 7 filing goes. Your interactions with the trustee may be limited, but they are all very important in having a successful bankruptcy experience. To learn more about when you will likely encounter the trustee during your bankruptcy, read on.

After You File

Once your lawyer files your bankruptcy package with the nearest federal court, you will soon receive a letter in the mail from your new bankruptcy trustee. This person may be a judge or a lawyer experienced in bankruptcy practices. This person is not exactly on your side, but they are not necessarily adversarial to your quest for financial relief either. Their job is to review your bankruptcy paperwork and identify errors or omissions. In many cases, the trustee will only communicate with you through your bankruptcy lawyer. They are not there as a contact when you have issues or questions about your bankruptcy — use your lawyer for those things. In most cases, you will only actually see your trustee one time: at the creditor's meeting.

The Creditor's Meeting

A few weeks after you file, you will be notified of the upcoming creditor's meeting. This event is likely your only time before the trustee as well as the only public appearance concerning the Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Your experience with the trustee at the meeting will probably be limited to answering a few questions and then you are done. Your bankruptcy lawyer will be there too and can help you prepare for answering the questions and anything else that might occur.

Problems With Your Case

In some cases, you might have more to do with the trustee if they have questions about your paperwork. The trustee's office will review your debt matrix, list of assets, income, and more to make sure nothing is missing or incorrect. They may also review your spending and certain transactions leading up to your filing. Taking advantage of the upcoming bankruptcy to charge up a lot of frivolous debts may be questioned by the trustee as well as your creditors, so be sure to follow the rules. Finally, the trustee will compare your income to your assets and note red flags. Expensive assets like sports cars and homes that don't match up to your stated income may be a problem.

To learn more about any of the issues mentioned above, speak to your own bankruptcy lawyer.