Contacting Your Bankruptcy Trustee Prior to your 341 Hearing
Contact Your Bankruptcy Trustee Only in Very Limited Circumstances
The role of the bankruptcy trustee is to review your bankruptcy case and administer/liquidate your assets. Think of them as the middle-man between you and your creditors. When you file your bankruptcy case, you will be assigned an interim Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustee. In most circumstances, you will not be able to speak to the bankruptcy trustee prior to your 341 meeting of creditors. More importantly, if you have an attorney, you should always go through them first.
The Bankruptcy Trustee is not your Attorney
The bankruptcy trustee in some cases is not even an attorney. If they are an attorney, they are not your attorney. It is similar to a business. An attorney for a business represents the best interest of the business which is not necessarily the same interest as the CEO or Owner. For example, the CEO might be stealing from the business. If this is the case, the attorney for the business might file a lawsuit against the CEO.
Because the trustee is not your attorney, the trustee and their lawyers will not give you legal advice. Therefore, if you do try to speak with them, you most likely not get answers from them. For example, if you ask them how to keep your car in bankruptcy, you will probably get once answer: “Speak to an experienced bankruptcy attorney.”
If you are looking for answers to common questions such as where is the court house, or the mailing address so you can send documents, you can probably get that information by calling the trustee’s office. However, you should also see if the trustee has a website. Many times, the trustee will have an FAQ or a reference page on their website with links to other sites that might have the resources you are looking for.
Limited Circumstances to Contact the Bankruptcy Trustee
If you do not have an attorney, there are very limited circumstances where you should speak to the trustee. These cases deal with your property or assets that need specific attention. For example, if your business cannot afford the power bill and has perishable foods, than you may want to contact the trustee to determine how they want to store or dispose of it. In these situations, it would be important to contact the trustee to let them know that their attention is required to protect the estate’s assets and property.