When an individual petitions for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the court appoints a trustee to oversee the case. Typically, this individual is a counsel who is an independent contractor for the Department of Justice. The trustee is not required to be a licensed attorney in order to superintend bankruptcy cases. The trustee is responsible for reviewing the bankruptcy petition and searching for any discrepancies that could lead to questions at the 341 meeting. At the 341 meeting, also known as the meeting of creditors, the bankruptcy trustee will ask the debtor pertinent questions about their filing. During this meeting, the debtor may be required to present supporting documentation for their bankruptcy petition.
When an individual files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the trustee's primary objective is to locate nonexempt assets. If assets that are not protected by exemption laws and can be readily sold are discovered, the trustee can recover the property from the bankrupt individuals, sell the items, and distribute the proceeds to the creditors. Trustees are typically extremely equitable with debtors and offer alternatives, if available. You must remember that it is no joy for the trustee to gather a large number of household items and sell them at a weekend swap meet. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the trustee is compensated $60 for each case they oversee, in addition to a percentage of any property they are able to recover and sell.
In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the trustee's objectives are drastically different. In Chapter 13, their primary responsibility is to determine how much a debtor can afford to pay creditors under the court-ordered payment plan. Regarding the client's income and expenses, the bankruptcy attorney for the debtor will present their view of what is equitable. The trustee will thoroughly examine the proposal before submitting it to the court. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the trustee is compensated a portion of the monthly payment in order to administer the case.
As long as you are truthful with the trustee and speak the truth when filing for bankruptcy, there is really nothing to worry about. It is very advantageous to have a bankruptcy attorney on your side, as the majority of them have worked with different trustees and are familiar with them and the requirements for a successful discharge.
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