My Chapter 7 bankruptcy case is closed, but the bankruptcy trustee is demanding more information. Can she do this?
If your bankruptcy has been closed by the court, the trustee has no further duties or obligations in your case and cannot require you to provide any further information. However, if the trustee finds out that you did not disclose an asset, he or she might refer your case to Office of the U.S. Trustee.
(Learn more about the duties and obligations of the bankruptcy trustee.)
A bankruptcy case is closed when the court enters an order closing the case, called a Final Decree. While this can happen soon after you receive your discharge, depending on the specifics of your case and what the trustee needs to do, it can also be much later -- even years later. Between the time you receive your discharge and the time that the case is closed, the trustee is still active and can request information from you.
However, once your case is closed by the court, the bankruptcy trustee is discharged. This is different than the discharge of debts that you receive and does not occur at the same time. The trustee’s discharge means that the trustee has no further work to do and is no longer your bankruptcy trustee.
There are rare occasions when the trustee might request information from you after the case is closed. However, the trustee has no obligation to do this and cannot require you to comply. This usually only occurs when the trustee gets information about a previously undisclosed asset.
Sometimes the information provided to the trustee is not accurate and can easily be explained away by you.
Other times, the information leads to the discovery of assets that you omitted, either inadvertently or intentionally. Under these circumstances, the trustee will likely report the information to the Office of the United States Trustee and may take steps to reopen the bankruptcy case to investigate and administer the asset, and take any other action that is required.
by: Patricia Dzikowski, Attorney