The bankruptcy trustee

During the filing process, a trustee will be assigned to your case. A trustee is simply a lawyer whose job it is to review your case for any errors or omissions and to evaluate whether you have listed all of your property on your paperwork. During the trustee meeting you will be asked a series of yes or no questions while you are sworn to tell the truth. Your attorney will prepare you for the questions that will be asked so there is no reason to feel nervous about the trustee meeting. For most clients this is the one and only time that they will be setting foot in the bankruptcy courthouse. They will never have to go to an actual courtroom as the trustee meetings 

What does the trustee look for at the meeting of creditors?

Remember that a trustee is simply a lawyer whose job it is to review your case for any errors or omissions and to evaluate whether you have listed all of your property on your paperwork. During the trustee meeting you will be asked a series of yes or no questions while you are sworn to tell the truth. Your attorney will prepare you for the questions that will be asked so there is no reason to feel nervous about the trustee meeting. For most clients this is the one and only time that they will be setting foot in the bankruptcy courthouse. They will never have to go to an actual courtroom as the trustee meetings are generally held in a conference room.

A trustee's job is to make sure that the creditors are being treated fairly, since they will be the ones that are losing money in the bankruptcy process. Keeping this in mind, the trustee will be making sure that you were entirely forthcoming in your paperwork, and will be looking for questions or issues that may benefit your creditors.

Some common issues that the trustee looks for are things like undervalued assets, omitted assets, understated income, overstated expenses, recent payments that you might have made to preferred creditors, and any fraudulent transfers of property.

Can the trustee watch my YouTube videos or look at my social networking posts?

It is the trustee’s job to make sure that you are disclosing everything about your financial situation. So if you have a presence online, it is part of a public record that the trustee can look at and determine if you have been forthright. This doesn’t happen often (yet) but it is still a possibility.

Will the trustee chastise me if my decision to file is not based on job loss or sickness, but instead, hasty spending?

The trustee does not pass judgment upon you if you consider yourself to be a ‘shopper’ or a ‘spender.’ In fact, the trustee asks each of my clients their reason for filing bankruptcy at this time and then proceeds to list possible reasons such as illness, loss of income, or “simply overspending”…this means that overspending is a good enough reason to file for bankruptcy! In other words, you are allowed to make a mistake, you will be given a fresh start.


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