The Bankruptcy Trustee Is Not Your Friend

July 15, 2010

The United States Trustee Program is a component of the Department of Justice.  The Trustee Program appoints and supervises local private trustees who administer Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy estates.  One of the private trustee’s chief duties in Chapter 7 cases is to liquidate the debtor’s nonexempt assets and pay creditors with the proceeds.  Similarly, in a Chapter 13 case the trustee must ensure that the debtor devotes all disposable income to debt repayment. Free Consultation 

The trustee is not your friend, the judge, or your legal counsel.  The trustee has no judicial power to make final decisions or issue orders regarding your bankruptcy case.  While the private trustee is very skilled at bankruptcy law, the trustee is forbidden from giving the debtor legal advice.   

On occasion a debtor will contact the trustee’s office with questions concerning the bankruptcy case.  This is always a bad idea and often results in a negative outcome.  Direct debtor contact is uncommon, so the trustee will identify and remember a debtor that personally contacts his or her office.  The case may have been a “routine” bankruptcy case for the trustee, but after the debtor contact the case is squarely on the trustee’s radar.  The trustee will assume there is a problem with the bankruptcy and scrutinize the case. Free Consultation 

During a lawsuit direct communication with represented litigants is generally prohibited.  Many trustees are also licensed attorneys, but may communicate directly with you while performing the duties of bankruptcy trustee.  If you call the trustee, he or she will likely speak with you.  And why not?  You may inadvertently disclose something that is better left unsaid.  What seems like an innocent and expedient communication may turn into an issue that you are unable to predict.  Free Consultation 

The bankruptcy trustee is not your friend.  If you have questions concerning your bankruptcy, discuss your issues with your attorney.  Your attorney can answer questions about your case, and is experienced in dealing with the bankruptcy trustee.  Let your attorney represent you and do not complicate your case by communicating directly with the bankruptcy trustee. Free Consultation

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