When you are filing a bankruptcy case, it can be a little scary. Understanding the process will help to alleviate some of those fears. Some very common questions that come up are about who the trustee is, what is their job, and will they share your information with anyone?
Who is the Trustee, anyway?
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Central District of California says that “The Office of the U.S. Trustee is not part of the bankruptcy court but is an agency of the Department of Justice whose main role is to monitor the administration of bankruptcy cases, detect bankruptcy fraud, and appoint/supervise a group of trustees who can administer chapter 7, 11, or 13 bankruptcy cases. The Office of the U.S. Trustee is divided nationwide into 16 regions, and each region is supervised by one person whose title is ‘United States Trustee.’ The U.S. Trustee generally has the right to be present at any court hearing and can make motions and recommendations to bankruptcy judges.”
What is their primary role?
In a chapter 7 bankruptcy case, a trustee is appointed to review the financial information of the debtor, take control of the assets of the debtor, and sell or distribute these assets for the benefit of creditors. A trustee can also recover certain assets that were previously transferred and bring those assets into the bankruptcy estate.
In a chapter 13 case, a trustee is appointed to review the documents filed in the case, collect payments, monitor activity in the case and to report to the court on how well a debtor is meeting his or her obligations. If a debtor is not meeting obligations, the trustee can ask the court to dismiss the bankruptcy case.
In both chapter 7 and chapter 13, the trustee conducts the meeting of creditors to question the debtor about the documents filed and allow creditors to ask questions.
Can the Trustee Share My Information?
No. As with attorneys, trustees are not able to share your information with others outside of your case. That means, that even after a bankruptcy case has been discharged, a trustee cannot discuss your information with anyone at any time for any reason, except when it is necessary to your case.
This is just a basic overview and is not legal advice specific to your situation. If you are considering bankruptcy or are feeling overwhelmed by debt, you should speak with an attorney in your area for legal advice. If you live in California and would like to speak with Jen Lee Law regarding your situation, please email me at [email protected] or call 925-586-6738.