In a bankruptcy filing, a lot of people are involved in helping you repay your debts and helping lenders get repaid. Here are all of the important players, what they do, and how they relate to your bankruptcy case.
1) You (Debtor, Borrower)
2) Your Lawyer (Attorney)
Your lawyer or attorney is the one who helps you through every step of the bankruptcy process. Bankruptcy lawyers are usually specialized and educated specifically in bankruptcy work.
3) Creditors (Lenders, Banks)
Creditors (also called lenders) are the people, banks, and organizations that lend money or assets to people (the borrowers). The borrowers then gradually repay the borrowed amount, plus an additional amount (the interest).
When the debtor can’t repay the borrowed amount and files for bankruptcy, the lenders may or may not get repayment based on the type of bankruptcy filing.
The judge is the one who makes the final decision regarding your bankruptcy case. Most debtors don’t meet the judge or even find themselves inside of a courtroom. Your bankruptcy lawyer handles most of these kinds of details.
5) Trustee (Agent, Administrator)
In Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy case, there needs to be a person who takes control of and manages some of your property while the bankruptcy filing is in progress. This is the trustee.
This person makes sure certain property of yours isn’t moved, sold, or transferred in any way during pre-bankruptcy activities. The trustee has several responsibilities:
- Review your appeal and schedule
- Recovers property of the bankruptcy estate
- Liquidates your property
- Distributes property and assets to creditors
- Oversees your bankruptcy plan
- Receives your payments and gives them to the creditors
6) Bankruptcy Clerk
The clerk handles incoming and outgoing documentation regarding your bankruptcy case. When you file a petition for bankruptcy, your lawyer will send the petition and other documentation to the bankruptcy clerk. The clerk will also send noticed and documentation to you and the creditors.
7) Bankruptcy Estate
The bankruptcy estate isn’t a person or company, but the term is used enough to be considered an entity involved in a bankruptcy. The estate is the collection of your property. The trustee manages the estate, and the creditors are repaid by the estate.
The property in the estate can include anything of value that can be given to creditors as repayment. Some of your property can be omitted, like your house, your car (if its value is relatively low), and inexpensive clothing.
All legal or equitable interests of the debtor in property, both real and personal, at the time of the bankruptcy filing. (The estate includes all property in which the debtor has an interest, even if it is owned or held by another person.)
This article should not be taken as legal advice. If you’re considering bankruptcy or another legal option, you need to consult an attorney for guidance. If you’re in New Jersey and seeking legal assistance, we can help you.
Brenner Spiller & Archer is a New Jersey law firm that is dedicated to helping families find relief from the burden of debt and other financial woes. For more than 35 years, our bankruptcy lawyers have provided effective guidance on all debt relief matters to clients throughout Central and South Jersey.