Information for Debtors
When a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is filed, an impartial bankruptcy trustee is appointed to oversee and administer the case. The Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee has many responsibilities that come with this appointment.
When you file bankruptcy you file a petition and other papers with the court disclosing your personal and financial information. In addition to filing your papers with the court, you usually must send the bankruptcy trustee certain documents such as pay stubs, tax returns, and information about your assets.
Approximately a month after you file your case, you must attend a hearing in front of the bankruptcy trustee. This is called the 341(a) meeting of creditors because any of your creditors are also free to come and ask you questions during the hearing.
Probably the most well-known role of the Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee is selling the nonexempt assets of the bankruptcy debtor. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy you are allowed to keep a certain amount of your property (the specific amounts depend on which state your case is filed in). These are protected assets that are “exempt” from the bankruptcy. If you own property above and beyond the amount allowed by your state, it is a nonexempt asset and the trustee may sell it to pay your creditors.