The first step to filing for personal bankruptcy in Edmonton is finding a government-licensed bankruptcy trustee. Until you hire a bankruptcy trustee, you cannot file your initial bankruptcy paperwork. Basically, a trustee is a licensed accountant who specializes in financial management and bankruptcy. Your bankruptcy trustee has a great deal of responsibility throughout your entire bankruptcy case including, but not limited to, the following:
1. Communicating with your creditors on your behalf
2. Managing the sale of your assets
3. Distributing the proceeds of the sales of your assets to creditors
4. Providing financial counseling
5. Filing your bankruptcy paperwork with the government
As mentioned, this short list does not encompass every single duty that a bankruptcy trustee must fulfill during a bankruptcy case, but it does give you a good idea of the general types of responsibilities of which your trustee is obligated to complete.
When hiring a particular trustee, it is important that you trust this person and feel confident in his (or her) abilities to adequately manage your bankruptcy case. At times, some bankruptcy clients forget that the role of the trustee is to remain as an impartial third party working with both you and your creditors. The keyword here is “impartial.” Even if you have built up a good rapport with your bankruptcy trustee and you really like this person, it is important you remember that your trustee is bound by a strict code of ethics to remain objective. Your trustee is not only looking out for your best interests, but for your creditors’ best interests, as well.
How does your trustee’s objectivity impact your business relationship? First of all, you should know right off the bat that your bankruptcy trustee is trying to collect as much money as possible for your creditors. Of course, a trustee should not try to force upon you any unreasonable payment requests or anything like that, but do not make the mistake of telling a bankruptcy trustee information about your finances that you do not want your creditors to know. If you have questions about assets transfers or other sensitive financial matters, your best bet is to talk to a bankruptcy lawyer before you meet with a trustee. Unlike a trustee, a lawyer is working only for you and the information you share will be protected by legal professional privilege. In a nutshell, “legal professional privilege” is client privilege that keeps all communications between you and your legal advisor (lawyer) confidential, unless you specifically request that the information be shared with others.
During the bankruptcy process, your trustee is not the only party who must complete specific duties because you will have your own set of responsibilities that must be met, as well. First of all, you are legally required to provide your trustee with a complete list of all your assets and debts. If you fail to disclose any of your assets to the trustee, you could be committing fraud. Along with this list of assets and debts, your trustee will likely require you to hand over all of your credit cards so they can be destroyed, too.
You will also be required to attend at least two financial counseling sessions with your trustee. Typically, the first session is scheduled to happen shortly after the bankruptcy paperwork is filed. The second session will probably take place three to five months later. In these sessions, you will discuss the reasons for your financial difficulties and strategies that can be implemented to prevent this type of financial crisis from happening in your life again.
As long as you fulfill all the requirements of bankruptcy set forth by your trustee, your bankruptcy will likely be discharged about nine months after the initial paperwork is filed. If you work with a qualified bankruptcy trustee like Lynne Waring and follow his (or her) suggestions and recommendations, the bankruptcy process will run as smoothly as possible.