Shortly after a bankruptcy petition is filed, the court will appoint a trustee to the case. Trustees are selected from a list maintained by the court and are usually experienced bankruptcy attorneys. The debtor will meet the trustee when s/he attends the meeting of creditors. It is the trustee’s job to question the debtor under oath at that time about his/her income, expenses, assets and liabilities. The trustee will also confirm the identity of the debtor and ensure that the debtor has some general understanding of bankruptcy filing options.Since the debtor’s property vests in his/her estate upon the filing of the bankruptcy petition, the trustee will administer that estate, subject to court supervision. Thus, if there are assets to be liquidated, the trustee will take charge of that. The trustee will also ensure that the debtor is not seeking to use bankruptcy to avoid any domestic support obligation. S/he will also examine proofs of claim filed by creditors and has the option to reject them.Importantly, the trustee can act to oppose the debtor’s discharge. For example, if a debtor has concealed income or assets that could be used to pay creditors, the trustee can seek to bar the discharge of the debtor.In Chapter 13 cases, plan payments are made to the Chapter 13 Trustee who then distributes same to the debtor’s creditors in accordance with their filed claims.
It is helpful to retain an experienced bankruptcy attorney who is known and respected by the trustees in your State. It is also important that your attorney communicate promptly with your trustee to answer concerns so that you receive your discharge.