When you file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, a bankruptcy trustee is automatically assigned to your case. Some clients periodically ask me if we can choose our trustee. The fact is that we have no control over which trustee is assigned to our case. We have 2 different Chapter 13 trustees in the Houston area and 8 different Chapter 7 trustees. Although they all do things a little bit differently, their responsibilities are the same.
In a Chapter 7 case, we are assigned a date and time to meet with the trustee approximately 30 days after the case is filed. At least 7 days prior to that time, we must send the trustee copies of your last 2 years of tax returns, last 3 months of bank statements prior to filing, the bank statement that covers the date of filing, copies of all your case papers and pay advices for the previous 60 days. The trustee also has a questionnaire that must be filled out and submitted at least 7 days prior to the meeting. At our meeting, the trustee will review your driver’s license and social security card to verify your identity. He will swear you in to tell the truth. He will then proceed to ask you several questions about your case, such as: did you review your paperwork before it was filed?; did you sign the paperwork before filing?; is it all true and correct?; do you have any changes to make to the paperwork?; were you advised of the effect of filing bankruptcy on your credit?; were you advised that you could file under a different chapter of the Bankruptcy Code? And so on. The whole meeting takes between 5-10 minutes on average. If you have non-exempt property, it is up to the trustee to decide whether it is beneficial or cost effective to liquidate that property for the benefit of your creditors. If so, he take control of that property and auctions it off and distributes that money out to the creditors. In most cases, however, consumers do not have much or any non-exempt property to worry about.
In a Chapter 13 case, we meet with the trustee approximately 45 days after filing. The trustee will review the same paperwork mentioned above and ask very similar questions. In a Chapter 13, you are required to make payments to the trustee over a 3 to 5 year period. The trustee takes these proceeds, and collects claims from your creditors, then in turn disburses these proceeds out to your creditors. He will also send you a semi-annual report of the receipts and disbursements he has made. At the end of the case, he will submit a final report to the court of these transactions.
When you file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will have a trustee assigned, but it is nothing to worry about. We will work with you every step of the way to explain the process and act as your intermediary between the trustee, the court and yourself. We are here to help you understand and succeed in your case.
I offer a free, no obligation consultation to review your situation and answer your individual questions about this or any aspect of bankruptcy law. Please contact me at 281-847-4345 or firstname.lastname@example.org so we can discuss your individual situation and see if Chapter 13 would work for you and how we can help you set up a plan to pay the required fees. The consultation is free. Take the first step by calling me today. I look forward to hearing from you soon.