What is the Job of the Arizona Bankruptcy Trustee?
When filing for bankruptcy, you will meet a number of professionals. One of the most important experts you’ll see a few times and you’ll have to work with is the bankruptcy trustee. In every state, a trustee is appointed by court after a debtor files all of the required documents. The job of an Arizona bankruptcy trustee is to provide assistance to individuals who are filing a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Depending on the type of bankruptcy, there could be a few specific tasks that the trustee will be responsible for.
Trustee Responsibilities under Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcies
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the trustee will be responsible for collecting property, liquidation and the conversion of belongings to cash. Once the process is completed, the available funds will have to be distributed among creditors.
A trustee will also have to examine the list of exempt property – the personal belongings and assets that a debtor gets to keep. Depending on the situation, the trustee could file an objection and dispute some of the requested exemptions.
Under a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the trustee has the same responsibilities as the ones mentioned above and a couple of additional obligations.
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves the creation of a payment plan. The trustee will be involved in the process by presiding the hearings aimed at modifying the payment plan or reducing the installments. After the approval of the plan, all payments are submitted to the trustee and distributed among creditors.
The trustee is also the person responsible for carrying out the 341 meeting. This is a meeting with a debtor that aims to clarify information provided so far and establish an eventual change in the situation of the debtor. While creditors have the right to attend the meeting and ask questions, it usually involves solely the trustee and the debtor.
Appointment and Payments
Arizona is a part of the US bankruptcy district that includes all states apart from North Carolina and Alabama. The Office of the US Trustee is responsible for the appointment of Arizona trustees.
It’s also interesting to take a look at the manner in which trustees get paid.
Whenever a person files a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the trustee will be paid from the filing fee. Additionally, trustees get a commission – a percentage of every property that the liquidate in the process. If the debtor gets to keep many assets in the form of an exemption, the trustee will get a flat fee.
In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the trustee will get a percentage of all payments made by the debtor.
Is Your Arizona Bankruptcy Trustee a Friend or an Enemy?
Many people who file for bankruptcy are worried about their interactions with the trustee. Is there a reason to feel concerned about the involvement of this professional in bankruptcy proceedings?
The Arizona bankruptcy trustee is an independent third party. This professional doesn’t represent the debtor and they most certainly do not represent the creditors.
All trustees have to follow professional guidelines established by the Office of the US Trustee. The office will require regular reports pertaining to the work of individual trustees and their ability to follow the standards in the field.
If you are dissatisfied with the work that your bankruptcy trustee does, you can file a complaint. The US Trustee Program is a supervisory scheme that’s also responsible for assessing complaints and evaluating the professional conduct of trustees.
To start with the complaint process, you have to visit the program’s web page pertaining to the specific Arizona region that the case comes under. There, you will find the contact information for the regional program office that you will need to address. Call the office and you will be given more information about the process. Alternatively, let your attorney handle the complaint.
Keep in mind that the complaint will be successful only if you can prove that your trustee hasn’t followed the law. If you simply disagree with a court/trustee decision, your objection will probably be turned down.