What Does the Chapter 7 Trustee Do?

We discussed previously that the primary role of the Chapter 7 trustee is to administer your bankruptcy case. The key question, then, is what does that specifically mean?

At the onset, the trustee will review your bankruptcy petition and schedules. His primary role in this regard is to review the schedules where you have listed property to see if there is unexempt property that can be distributed to your creditors. Part of this process is to also check your statement of intentions to determine if you are keeping your secured property, like your house and cars.

The trustee will review these items prior to your meeting of creditors and will further investigate your financial affairs at that time. If the trustee has determined that there will be a distribution of any unexempt property, he will also examine any proof of claims filed by any creditors.

On a basic level, the first thing the trustee will do at the meeting is to check their government issued photo I.D. and your social security card to ensure that the filing of the bankruptcy petition, as well as the testimony at the trustee meeting, are true, honest, and correct. If, for some reason, you are unable to make it to your trustee meeting the trustee may continue the case to another date or file a motion to have your case dismissed. This is why it is important to make your assigned meeting date.

It is important to remember, though, that in the vast majority of cases you will only be interacting with the trustee at the meeting of creditors, and the meeting itself will be relatively short. Only when there is unexempt property or some other issue will there be more interaction, and this will likely have been discussed ahead of time with your attorney.