Bankruptcy trustees and you – one of a series

17 Feb Bankruptcy trustees and you – one of a series

Debtors frequently feel like bankruptcy is an obstacle course.

The goal is to receive a bankruptcy discharge. Along the way, there are many hurdles to pass.

Clients often ask whether they have to go to court in bankruptcy cases. The answer is hardly ever. In fact, most debtors in bankruptcy cases will never go to court and never see a judge.

Instead, they see a civilian person, not dressed in a black robe, who can have a big influence in their life.

That person is a bankruptcy trustee. Every chapter 7 debtor will come into contact with a chapter 7 trustee. The success of your case depends on the success of your interaction with the chapter 7 trustee.

Who is a chapter 7 trustee?

A chapter 7 trustee is typically an individual. Strictly speaking, a trustee could be corporation, but there aren’t any corporate chapter 7 trustees so far as I know. Chapter 7 trustees could be lawyers, accountants or virtually any other profession. They are required to have college education or such other training or experience as deemed necessary by the Office of the United States Trustee to qualify them for their work. Some chapter 7 trustees handle trustee work as a full-time job. Other chapter 7 trustees are engaged in this work on a part-time basis, requiring other work to make a living.

How does a person get appointed as a chapter 7 trustee?

The United States Trustee the pertinent region appoints individuals to serve as a chapter 7 trustee. The appointment is only on a year-to-year basis although typically, chapter 7 trustees get reappointed so long as they are serving in a satisfactory manner. Typically, the regional United States Trustee will announce openings on their website and conduct interviews of applicants who make a written application for the appointment. United States Trustees want a diversity of people, both in terms of background and skill-sets to serve as chapter 7 trustee.

To be continued . . .

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Jay S. Fleischman is a bankruptcy lawyer with offices in Los Angeles and New York. He can often be found on Google+ and Twitter, where he shares information about consumer protection issues and personal finance.
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