The Role of a Bankruptcy Trustee When Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Minnesota

When you file for bankruptcy, the United States Bankruptcy Court will appoint someone to oversee your case. This role is not filled by an employee of the Court. The person who is appointed is called a trustee. Trustees are usually attorneys and they are hired to acct in two main capacities: they act as representatives of your unsecured creditors, to make sure there is nothing available under the law to distribute to them in your chapter 7 liquidation; and to act as the eyes and ears of the Department of Justice to look for anyone trying to use the bankruptcy system improperly. They are usually the first ones to spot someone trying to hide assets like money or property, not disclose transactions, or otherwise try to commit fraud using the bankruptcy relief process.

This fraud-finding aspect of the bankruptcy process is extremely important and the failure to provide all the information the petition asks for could mean your case gets dismissed by the court.

Verifying Your Petition

One of the things your trustee does after your case is filed is review your petition, which includes the following material:

  • Your identifying information (your name, any other names you have gone by in the last eight years, your current address in Minnesota, any prior addresses in Minnesota for the last three years)
  • Any pending court cases you are part of (like eviction cases, personal injury cases, unemployment cases, divorce proceedings, collection cases filed by your creditors)
  • The amount and types of debt you have (like credit cards, taxes, medical bills)
  • The names of your creditors and their mailing addresses
  • What assets you have and what law allows you to keep them (which are called exemptions)

The trustee requires this information in order to monitor for accuracy and potential fraud. When you wish to file for bankruptcy in Minnesota, an experienced attorney can prepare your petition to ensure that the trustee does not find any errors and that you have the best chance for success.

Liquidating Your Unprotectable Assets

Your trustee’s other role is to liquidate any assets that you cannot protect under the law. This means that they will sell that unprotected property for cash, and that cash will be put towards paying off your debts.

In many cases, you will be able to keep your car, house, and other essential property for living, given that you are current on your payments and can plan to continue to pay off the debt owed against them after completion of your bankruptcy proceeding.

If you plan to file for bankruptcy, the Court will take great care in going over your petition and supporting documents to ensure the integrity of the process. An experienced Minnesota bankruptcy attorney can compile and file all the requisite forms for you and provide much-needed guidance.

Reach Out to a Skilled Minnesota Bankruptcy Lawyer

The knowledgeable bankruptcy attorneys of Martin & Hedervare PLLC are familiar with all aspects of bankruptcy. Wherever you live in the Twin Cities, Minneapolis, and St. Paul communities, we can help. Contact us at (651) 243-2974 today to schedule a consultation.

About the Author: Marie Martin
Marie F. Martin is an experienced bankruptcy attorney serving the Twin City area. She represents Minnesota families in bankruptcy court, and has handled thousands of Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases from beginning to end.