The Easiest Way to a Smooth Chapter 7 Case Is Cooperating with Your Trustee
March 11, 2013
The way to keep the Chapter 7 trustee happy is by making it easy for him or her to do his or her job.
The trustee has a great deal of power over your Chapter 7 case. He or she is like the traffic light governing progress in your case.
Imagine two intersections with traffic lights—the first about your assets, the second about your discharge (write-off) of debts. Most of the time, you will get through both intersections.
The trustee will want none of your assets for distribution to your creditors because they will be exempt and legally beyond the reach of the trustee.
And the trustee will raise no objections to your discharge. But you want to make sure you to get through those intersections, without any worry or delay. So our goal is two quick green lights to a successful case.
If you do not deal responsibly with your case—by communicating clearly and thoroughly with your attorney, and answering the trustee’s questions truthfully, he or she can slow you down with a yellow light or stop you with a red one.
You could lose assets that you did not expect to or, in extreme situations, lose your right to a discharge of your debts altogether.
Instead, keep the trustee happy, and turning on those green lights by:
Being honest and thorough with your attorney. When in doubt, raise it. If you’re concerned about something, tell your attorney. He or she is on your side, and can’t protect you when blindsided by facts you didn’t disclose.
Understand What You’re Signing
Reviewing the bankruptcy documents carefully before signing them. You are signing most of those documents under penalty of perjury. The trustee expects them to be accurate, and incomplete or inaccurate documents can cause very serious problems. If in doubt about anything on the documents, be sure to ask your attorney or his or her staff.
Provide Information Quickly
Providing whatever information or documents your attorney requests from you as quickly as possible. Some of those go directly to the trustee, Simply getting the paperwork to him or her on time avoids unnecessarily irritating the trustee.
Be Prepared For Your Meeting Of Creditors
Being completely honest with the trustee at the “meeting of creditors” (usually a short hearing with just the trustee and other folks waiting for their turn). If in doubt, ask your attorney who will be there with you.
Be Responsive To Your Attorney
Finally, doing whatever follow-up the trustee or your attorney asks of you, doing so by the deadline given.
Doing these will greatly increase your odds of getting green lights and quickly getting through your Chapter 7 case!