In every Chapter 7 bankruptcy that is filed in the United States, there are two people called trustees involved in the case.
The United States Trustee’s office first and foremost reviews your bankruptcy petition to ensure you actually qualify for a Chapter 7 filing. A properly performed Means Test is essential to overcoming this initial hurdle. If you do qualify on the surface, but you have a substantial amount of money left over each month based on your income and expenses as filed with the court, the U.S. Trustee’s office may determine it would be an abuse for you to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Those who qualify for a Chapter 7 are presumed to have no disposable monthly income left over after normal expenses are paid to give to their unsecured creditors. If your income and expenses tell a different story, the U.S. Trustee may require you to pay back some of your debt in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead.
More commonly, the debtors will interact with the Interim Trustee. In Jacksonville, the Chapter 7 Trustee is the person most attorneys refer to when they talk about “the trustee.” The Chapter 7 Trustee in Jacksonville will review your entire petition and dig through your financial information, such as pay advices, tax returns, bank statements, and the like. Among many tasks, his job is to determine whether you have answered your petition openly and honestly, and to recover and liquidate non-exempt assets from your estate. This means that the Interim Trustee can sell certain of your non-protected property to repay your unsecured creditors.
The Jacksonville Chapter 7 Trustee can also find that there is no property available for him to liquidate, and will issue an official notification that this is the case. Once all liquidation issues are resolved, and the court has found you are eligible for a discharge of all of your debt, your case will be closed, and you and your attorney will have no further contact with the Jacksonville Chapter 7 Trustee.