Is the Trustee and
What is Their Job?
In a Chapter 7 case,
the Trustee is the
court appointed official who has two primary
roles. First, he is to verify
that you are eligible
for Chapter 7 and that the schedules you signed
under oath and filed with
the court are accurate.
Second, if the trustee locates any assets that
are not protected by state or federal exemptions,
he is to sell them and distribute the proceeds
of that sale to your creditors. In most cases,
there are no assets to liquidate, so do not be
concerned. If the trustee does identify assets,
we probably have already advised you about this
In a Chapter 13 case, the trustee is the court
appointed official who is responsible for reviewing
your proposed repayment plan, making recommendations
to the court regarding the feasibility of that
plan, and distributing the payments to your creditors
under the terms of the plan.
What Happens Next?
In a Chapter 7 case, at the conclusion
of your hearing, there is very little else you need to do.
Occasionally, the bankruptcy trustee will request additional
information from you. You are obligated to comply promptly
and furnish any requested materials.
Prior to receiving your discharge order, you may receive correspondence
from our office proposing to reaffirm certain secured items,
like your house, car or household goods. Not every lender requires
a reaffirmation agreement, but it is very important that you
review all correspondence immediately, as once your case has
been completed, you may forego your rights to reaffirm certain
Approximately 60 - 90 days after your hearing, you will receive
a discharge order from the court. The discharge order is the
official court order relieving you of your obligation to pay
In a Chapter 13 case, the discharge order is issued upon your
successful completion of the repayment plan. Again, it is very
important to save this document, as you will need to it to
re-establish credit in the future.
What Happens at My Hearing?
In a Chapter 7 case, the trustee
will ask you questions to verify your eligibility for Chapter
7 relief and to determine that you have fully disclosed all
of your assets and liabilities.
Some of the common questions are:
Do you own a home?
Have you transferred any property?
Do you have the right to sue
any one for bodily injury?
Have you listed all of your debts
Are you expecting to inherit
The hearing only lasts about five minutes and is relatively
informal. Most of our clients are relieved after they see how
smoothly the hearing goes.
In a Chapter 13 case, the hearing lasts about 10 minutes.
In addition to the questions asked in most Chapter 7 cases,
the trustee will also ask questions to verify that you can
afford your Chapter 13 payment and that you are making your
best efforts to repay your creditors through your Chapter 13
When Do I Get My Discharge Order?
Approximately 60 - 90 days after
your hearing, you will receive a discharge order from the
court. The discharge order is the official court order relieving
you of your obligation to pay your bills.
What Should I Bring?
Please show up at least 15 minutes
prior to your hearing time to give the attorney time to prepare
you and for you to ask any remaining questions. You should
bring a state issued photo I.D., your social security card
(or some other item verifying your social security number)
and the notice sent to you by the court. In some of the districts
where we practice, the court requires you to bring additional
Please refer to the written materials we provided to you when
you hired us to find out what other items you must bring.
What If I Miss My Hearing?
As our literature indicates,
you MUST attend your hearing.
Failure to appear at even one
hearing, technically, is grounds
for dismissal of your case.
In most cases, we can attempt
to obtain one continuance.
We have to attend the hearing
regardless of whether or not you appear.
As our retainer agreement and
literature states, we charge
$50.00 to attend any additional
hearings. Please mark your
calendar to avoid any unnecessary
If you have not received your hearing notice within three
weeks after we told you the case would be filed, it is your
responsibility to call our office and get your hearing date.
If you cannot avoid missing your hearing, please advise us
Who Will Be At My Hearing?
The bankruptcy trustee (not a
judge) will conduct the hearing, but an attorney from our
office will be sitting right beside you at all times. In
Chapter 7 cases, your creditors usually do not appear.
In Chapter 13 cases, sometimes creditors do appear, but any
questions they ask are for informational purposes and are non-adversarial
Why Is My Discharge Order Important?
First, the discharge order is
the official document relieving you of your pre-bankruptcy
obligations. This is proof of your "fresh start".
After your bankruptcy case is completed, you may want to begin
re-establishing your credit. Part of getting back on your feet
is taking on new debt and managing your debt responsibly. Any
time you apply for credit, the lender is likely to request
a copy of the discharge order.
So, keep your discharge order in a safe place where you will
always know where to find it.
If you do lose your discharge
order, you can order another
one through our office by submitting
a written request plus a $25.00
money order, payable to "Patricia Geringer, Attorney At