When considering filing for bankruptcy, or if you are already in a bankruptcy, you have probably heard a lot about the Bankruptcy Trustee without knowing who that person is or what it means for your case. A Bankruptcy Trustee is an attorney that oversees the bankruptcy court. The trustee is not a judge. Every debtor that files for bankruptcy will be assigned to a trustee. The debtor will meet the trustee in person at the 341 meeting. The 341 meeting is also known as a “Meeting of Creditors”. Here the trustee’s responsibilities, among many others not listed here, are to swear you in, make sure you understand your filing, and make sure that everything has been disclosed.
Prior to your 341 meeting the trustee will review your petition. The trustee will also require your most recent pay stubs, your most recent tax refund, and bank statements. The trustee is looking for an idea of your income and your assets, consisting of property and money. Many of your assets are protected in bankruptcy, the trustee is simply looking to see if some are not. The trustee has to weigh your interests with those interests of the creditors.
As mentioned previously, the trustee will swear you in. You will testify on the record. He will ask you if you read the schedules you signed. If you have omitted anything this would be the time to mention the omission to the trustee.
For those in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, the trustee will review the case, and if there are no assets will close out the case in a matter of months. For those in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, you will have the same 341 meeting, however, the trustee will stay active in your case for the entire term of your plan. Each year, tax returns and refunds will need to be submitted to the trustee, as well as any change in income or inheritance.
Though the trustee is not a judge, he or she is still a part of your bankruptcy. You have an obligation to provide any information or documents that the trustee requests from you at any point during your bankruptcy. Even in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may risk having your discharge revoked before your case is closed if you do not provide requested documentation.
If you still have questions, or would like to set up a consultation, contact a St. Louis Bankruptcy Attorney today!