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Working with the Bankruptcy Trustee: What Kind of Relationship Can You Expect?

Interviewer: I would like to discuss the trustees. How aggressive are the bankruptcy trustees in the courts you deal with? Are they really out to get every asset they can to pay creditors or are do you find they are more understanding about the process?

Typically, the Trustees Who Work in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Filings Tend to be More Easygoing than Trustees Who Work in Chapter 13 Filings

Adam: Over the period of time I have been handling Chapter 7 bankruptcies, I have found the trustees are a bit easier to work with. For whatever reason, they seem to be less aggressive than the trustees who work in Chapter 13 bankruptcies.

By a Lottery System, Trustees Are Assigned at Random to Bankruptcy Cases

Then again, it’s going to depend on the individual trustee. The trustees are assigned by a lottery at random. For the most part, I think in the Youngstown area, we have a fairly easy group of trustees to work with.

You Cannot Request to Work with Certain Trustee

Interviewer: So there’s not much you can really do beforehand. You will just have to work with the trustee who is assigned to your bankruptcy case?

Adam: Yes, that is correct and in actuality, there are only a few trustees in the system. I would consider only one of them in our area to be fairly aggressive and that would be it, in all honesty.  If you aren’t assigned that one trustee you’re alright, usually.

Interviewer: What happens if you are the assigned the more aggressive trustee? Can you try to request a different trustee, or that isn’t permitted?

When Working with the Bankruptcy Trustee, It Is Important to Make Sure the Material You Submit Is in Good Order and Absolutely Complete

Adam: No, you do have to work with the trustee that was assigned to your bankruptcy case.  You do have to make sure all the “i’s” are dotted, and “t’s” are crossed in any material you are submitting and be aware that things are probably going to be scrutinized a little more.

While Some Trustees Might Be More Difficult to Work with than Others, They Can Only Ask for What Is Permissible By Law

Interviewer: I just didn’t know if it was an urban myth that all bankruptcy trustees try to make debtors lives miserable, and really ask much more than they really need to.

Adam: They won’t ask for more than they can get under the law. But as I said, there is a trustee that will try to get everything that is possible under the law.  Other than that individual, for the most part, like I said, they’re fairly easy to work with.

It Is Not Possible to Tailor a Strategy for Working with the Trustees Due to the Nature of Bankruptcy Filing

Interviewer: Do you know all the trustees and do you have a different strategy depending on which one has been assigned to the bankruptcy case?

The Attorney’s Process of Filing for Bankruptcy for This or Her Clients Is Based on Figures and Knowledge of the How the Current Statutes Apply to Each Case 

Adam: No, and this is because bankruptcy law really is all about looking at numbers and comparing it how many exemptions are allowed by the current statutes.

By Adam Hunt

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