Bankruptcy releases individuals with consumer and business debts from liability for most unsecured debts and prevent the creditors owed those debts from taking collection actions against the debtor. Individuals can file a Chapter 7 “straight liquidation” bankruptcy, or a Chapter 13 “debt repayment plan” bankruptcy. Anyone contemplating bankruptcy should speak to an experienced Kansas City bankruptcy lawyer to evaluate the options appropriate for their particular situation.
When someone files a petition for bankruptcy under Chapter 13, a “trustee” is appointed to administer the case. The Chapter 13 trustee both evaluates the case and serves as a disbursing agent, collecting payments from the debtor and making distributions to creditors. The trustee oversees the administration of the case, conducts a meeting of creditors, examines the debtors about the information that they have submitted to the court, and, in Chapter 13, administers the repayment plan.
The trustee is charged with representing a debtor’s “bankruptcy estate,” as well as receiving monthly payments from the debtor and making payments to creditors in accordance with the repayment plan. The trustee’s job is also to conduct an examination of the debtor, under oath, regarding the contents of the petition, related schedules, and Chapter 13 Plan. These hearings are called “341” hearings or “creditor’s meetings”, but in most cases creditors do not actually show up at these hearings. In the Western District of Missouri and the District of Kansas, these meetings are generally informal. The debtor’s Kansas City bankruptcy attorney will accompany the debtor(s) to the meeting, and will negotiate the Chapter 13 Plan and monthly payment with the trustee on behalf of the debtors.
Once the Plan is calculated and confirmed by Court, creditors receive a percentage of the money they are owed from the trustee, and at the conclusion of the Plan, the debtor(s) will receive a discharge of their remaining debts, excluding certain exceptions.
W.H. “Bill” Griffin is the Standing Trustee for all Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases filed in Kansas City, Kansas. The Chapter 13 Standing Trustee for Kansas City, Missouri, is Richard V. Fink.