Responsible for the lawful administration of the bankruptcy case.
The person, couple or corporation filing for bankruptcy.
A person or company who is owed money by the debtor(s).
✓Debtor - Trustee: Each debtor will meet their assigned trustee at a scheduled meeting known as a trustee meeting, creditor meeting or Section 341 meeting. This meeting is conducted outside of the court in the trustee's office. The trustee is responsible to ask the debtor questions to establish the identity and accuracy of the debtor's bankruptcy disclosures. Some example trustee questions are found here. The trustee also handles any financial transactions involving the bankruptcy estate. For example a chapter 13 trustee accounts for the debtor's bankruptcy plan payments and distributes them accordingly.
✓Debtor - Creditor: Creditors are not permitted to contact debtors represented by Counsel directly. All creditor communications must be conducted through debtor's Counsel or the bankruptcy court. A creditor may file a proof of claim with the court establishing the amount of debt owed. A proof of claim is not required for a debt to be discharged through bankruptcy, but is required for the creditor to receive monetary distribution from the bankruptcy estate or trustee.
Creditors entitled to post-petition payments for loans (eg. car payments) may request to be excused from the bankruptcy by means of filing a motion for relief from stay if the debtor fails to make the required payments. If granted by the judge, a creditor may then resume collection action outside of the court.
✓Trustee - Creditor: Large creditors (eg. mortgage loans) will hire an attorney to represent them in a bankruptcy case, as will the taxing authorities and municipalities. Smaller creditors (eg. medical bills) may be satisfied to only file a proof of claim without the help of a lawyer. As the trustee administers a bankruptcy case they ensure all creditors are treated equitably within the law. As part of their best interest duty a trustee is able to act on behalf of all creditors.
Equitable treatment under bankruptcy law often means a full discharge of a debt. Consider the example of a general unsecured creditor (eg. credit card) listed in typical chapter 7. Equitable treatment simply means all general unsecured creditors are the same and will all equally be discharged
Any contested or disputed matter is brought before the court. Hearings are scheduled where the interested parties present their positions and the judge will issue a ruling. The bankruptcy judge has jurisdiction over any bankruptcy related matter.
If a matter can not be resolved without litigation an adversarial proceeding is filed. An adversary proceeding is a litigation case within a bankruptcy case and is assigned a unique case number. The presiding judge of the original bankruptcy case will typically oversee the adversary proceeding as well. Often a bankruptcy case will remain open until all adversary proceeding are resolved. For example, an adversary proceeding would be required to challenge the validity of a foreclosure.