Disclaimer: These articles are for general informational use and do not constitute legal advice. Since laws change over time, it's possible some articles are out of date and for that reason, we make no representation that the articles are fully accurate. For actual, up-to-date legal advice (including a free consultation), please contact us!
What is a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustee?
When analyzing your bankruptcy options, it is important to understand who the bankruptcy trustee is and what role they will play in your case. Kansas bankruptcy trustees are appointed by the US Trustee who falls under the Department of Justice.
The Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee is an attorney. He or she does not represent the Debtor (the person filing for Chapter 7 relief) or the Debtor's creditors. The Chapter 7 trustee represents the bankruptcy estate. The trustee is ethically required to act in the best interest of the bankruptcy estate, which normally means that they will try to identify all of the property that became part of the bankruptcy estate upon filing. Among other things, this normally includes the trustee doing the following:
- Identifying and administering any non-exempt property owned by the bankruptcy trustee
- Identifying assets that may come into the Debtor's possession in the future, i.e. a portion of the Debtor's tax refund for the year of filing, inheritances, etc.
- Avoiding (undoing) certain transfers, i.e. transfers to family members, business partners, etc.
- Assuming the right of payment for secured but unperfected assets
To accomplish their duties, Chapter 7 trustees will conduct a Creditor's meeting (often referred to a 341 hearing). In this meeting, the trustee will examine the Kansas bankruptcy debtors under oath by asking a series of questions and requesting certain documents. The debtor must answer each of these questions truthfully and, because the questioning is under oath, any misrepresentation in his or her answer is perjury. Furthermore, within certain limitations, the debtor has an absolute duty to provide the documentation requested by the trustee.
Another duty of the Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee is to administer the bankruptcy estate. This means that after the assets of the bankruptcy estate are identified, the trustee coordinates the liquidation (i.e. sale) of those assets and then distributes the money from the liquidation to the creditors based on a statutorily determined framework.