The Bankruptcy Trustee

One of the first things that a person asks if they are encountering bankruptcy for the first time is, what is a bankruptcy trustee? A bankruptcy trustee administers the bankruptcy estate. Bankruptcy Code 11 U.S.C. § 541 establishes that when a person files for bankruptcy, a bankruptcy estate is created.

The estate consists of all of the property that the debtor has an interest in, apart from some exemptions. The bankruptcy trustee's primary job is ensuring the fair and equitable distribution of the estate. Depending on the type of bankruptcy and the circumstances of the case, a bankruptcy trustee's role may differ.

Attorney for Bankruptcy in Dallas, TX

If you are having a hard time paying your bills and are seeking a fresh start, contact the experienced bankruptcy attorneys at Littlefield Law Firm. Having an experienced attorney during the bankruptcy process will be one of the best assets in determining which type of bankruptcy is appropriate and ensuring that your interests are protected.

While the bankruptcy trustee is charged with the fair administration of the estate, he represents the creditors, not the debtor. An experienced attorney in a Dallas, TX, will be an advocate and a negotiator on your behalf in a bankruptcy case. Contact Linda Littlefield; she is an attorney with decades of experience, to learn more about how a bankruptcy lawyer can help you get a fresh start through bankruptcy.

Call (972) 812-0900 to schedule an initial consultation.

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Bankruptcy Trustee Information Center

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11 U.S.C. § 704 Duties of a Trustee

The duties of a bankruptcy trustee are outlined in the Bankruptcy Code in Chapter 11 U.S.C. § 704. The Statute covers the overall tasks and duties entrusted to the trustee and how the bankruptcy affairs should be handled. A trustee’s duties in bankruptcy states that the trustee shall:

  1. Be accountable for all properties received;
  2. Ensure that the debtor performs his or her intention as specified in 521(a)(2)(B);
  3. Collect and reduce to money the property of the estate for which is non-exempt;
  4. If the debtor has a lawsuit or claim to recover money, the trustee steps into the shoes of the debtor to prosecute the claim;
  5. Close such estate as expeditiously as is compatible with the best interests of the parties in interests;
  6. Investigate the financial affairs of the debtor;
  7. If advisable, oppose the discharge of the debtor;
  8. If a purpose would be served, examine the proof of claims and object to the allowance of any proof of claim that is improper;
  9. If the business of the debtor is authorized to be operated, the trustee may operate said business until he or she can sell the business or liquidate the assets, he or she is responsible for filing periodic reports and summaries of the operations of such business…
  10. Make a final report and file a final account of the administration of the estate with the court and with the United States trustee;
  11. If with respect to the debtor there is a claim for a domestic support obligation, provide the applicable notice specified in subsection (c);
  12. If, at the time of the commencement of the case, the debtor (or any entity designated by the debtor) served as the administrator of an employee benefit plan, continue to perform the obligations required of the administrator; and
  13. Use all reasonable and best efforts to transfer patients from a health care business that is in the process of being closed to an appropriate health care business that operates in accordance with subsections (12)(a), (b), and (c) of this statute.
  14. And all other responsibilities with respect to the debtor in this Statute.

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Trustee’s Duties in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

The bankruptcy trustee has specific duties outlined in 11 U.S.C. § 704 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code; however, the way those duties are implemented and carried out may look different in each chapter of bankruptcy.

Understanding what the bankruptcy trustee does first requires understanding the type of bankruptcy that petitioner files. Chapter 7 is liquidation bankruptcy. Thus, many of the trustee’s duties entail dealing with liquidating the property in the bankruptcy estate.

Under Chapter 7, the bankruptcy trustee’s duties involve:

  • Gathering all of the debtor’s non-exempt property;
  • Selling the bankruptcy's estate's non-exempt property;
  • Distributing proceeds to creditors;
  • Challenging creditors’ claims where appropriate. 

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Trustee’s Duties in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Since Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves reorganizing a debtor’s liabilities rather than liquating their assets, the trustee’s duties will be different than they would in Chapter 7.

A trustee's duties under Chapter 13 might entail the following:

  1. Reviewing the debtor’s repayment plan;
  2. Objecting the debtor’s repayment plan, if appropriate;
  3. Collecting payments and enforcing the repayment plan; and
  4. Distributing payments to creditors.

Additional Resources

11 U.S.C. § 704 – Visit the U.S. Government Publishing Office, created to keep America informed as to the official, digital, and secure source for producing, protecting, preserving, and distributing the official publications and information products of the Federal Government. The site has the full disposition of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, including 11 U.S.C. § 704 entitled the Trustee's Duties.

Private Trustee – Visit the U.S. Department of Justice website to find out more about the United States Trustees that are appointed to administer bankruptcy estates. The site provides information on the types of trustees that are appointed in the different types of bankruptcies, such as panel trustees, and standing trustees. The site also discusses some of the duties of each of these types of trustees.

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Find a Lawyer for Bankruptcy in Dallas County, TX

The attorneys at Littlefield Law Firm can help you understand how the rules of the Bankruptcy Code directs the bankruptcy trustee in each type of bankruptcy case. The attorneys at Littlefield Law Firm represent clients considering different forms of bankruptcy filed under Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

The Dallas, Texas attorneys at Littlefield Law Firm can help you adhere to all of the applicable clerk's office and court-imposed deadlines, the court's local rules and procedures, and the requirements of the bankruptcy code. Our experienced attorneys are familiar with the United States Bankruptcy Code, the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure and the Local Rules of the court where your case may be filed.

We represent clients in bankruptcy court throughout the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area including in the Northern District of Texas at the Earle Cabell Federal Building in Dallas, Texas, and the Eastern District, Plano Division.

Call (972) 812-0900 now to schedule an initial consultation about your case.

This article was last updated on Thursday, March 22, 2018. 

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