If you are filing a Chapter 7, 12, or 13 Georgia bankruptcy, during your proceedings you may hear about an appointed trustee overseeing your case. It would not be unexpected to wonder who that person is and what they have to do with your case. There are different types of trustees who have different authority and different responsibilities with regards to the proceedings and processes of bankruptcy – we will examine them more in-depth for you here.
Types of Trustees
The Department of Justice created a United States Trustee Program to streamline and safeguard the integrity of Federal bankruptcies. United States Trustees and Assistant United States Trustees are appointed by the Attorney General. Private trustees, on the other hand, are individuals screened and appointed by U.S. Trustees to oversee individual bankruptcy cases. Private trustees are called “panel trustees” in Chapter 7 bankruptcies because once they are on the panel they are assigned to bankruptcies on a rotating basis. In Chapters 12 and 13, private trustees are known as “standing trustees” due to their standing appointment by a U.S. Trustee to administer bankruptcies in a certain geographic area – in Georgia it is Region 21.
Tasks of Trustees in Bankruptcy Cases
Private trustees and both U.S. Trustees/Assistant Trustees have different sets of powers and responsibilities when it comes to Federal bankruptcy cases.
United States Trustees
U.S. Trustees are tasked with supervising the actions of parties to a bankruptcy as well as private trustees, supervising administrative functions related to certain bankruptcy proceedings, checking for legal and procedural compliance, identifying bankruptcy fraud, and helping investigate fraud with other agencies.
U.S. Trustees supervise the administration of certain bankruptcy cases including:
- Chapter 7 liquidation proceedings,
- Chapter 12 family farm and fisherman reorganization proceedings, and
- Chapter 13 wage-earner reorganization proceedings.
In addition, U.S. Trustees have specific duties related to Federal bankruptcies:
- Advocating Bankruptcy Code matters and procedural rules in court;
- Reviewing disclosure statements and retention of professionals’ applications;
- Appointing and supervising Chapter 7, 12, and 13 private trustees for estates and where other trustees are unable or unwilling to serve;
- Referring matters for investigation and prosecution when possible; and
- Reviewing reasonableness of professional fees and that estates are administered efficiently.
Private trustees are not government employees, but they work with U.S. Trustees to perform their assigned tasks, which differ depending upon the Chapter of bankruptcy the trustee is supervising.
In Chapter 7 bankruptcies, a trustee assigned to a case will collect non-exempt debtor assets, liquidate them, and distribute proceeds to creditors. In Chapter 12 and 13 proceedings, private trustees evaluate debtors’ financial affairs, recommend courts confirm or deny a debtor’s repayment plan, and administer approved plans by collecting a debtor’s payments and disbursing them to creditors.
Get Your Georgia Bankruptcy Questions Answered Today
If you are filing bankruptcy, the process is probably new to you and it would be common to have questions about procedures such as trustee appointment. To get answers, contact our experienced Georgia bankruptcy attorneys at The Ballard Law Group. We have extensive bankruptcy experience and can help you understand bankruptcy proceedings and make navigating the process as easily as possible. We offer a free bankruptcy consultation to evaluate your case, answer your questions, and help you achieve as easy and advantageous bankruptcy as possible. Call us at (404) 800-9939!