It’s a daunting task – to decide whether to file for bankruptcy. This is exaggerated if you have no idea what to expect and what options are available to you. Furthermore you might be embarrassed by your financial situation. Initiating contact with a Trustee can be a difficult decision, however, it may be the best decision you have made in years. The balance of this blog details some of the items that would be discussed at your initial consultation with a Trustee in bankruptcy.
The initial assessment is private and typically at no cost to you. This meeting is to gather information, assess your situation and discuss the best options for you. You will not be judged and it is the Trustee’s role to assist you. You can expect a number of questions as they gather information. It is advisable to prepare ahead of time and have your financial information available.
A Trustee wants to know what you own so be prepared to provide information about your assets, which includes bank accounts, RRSP’s, investment accounts, your home, vehicles, boats, etc. A trustee will also want to know every creditor you owe money to and the amount owing, including mortgages, bank loans, credit cards and income taxes.
The Trustee will review your monthly income and expenses. Come prepared with your pay stub and a listing of your monthly household expenses, which includes mortgage or rent, utilities, phone, food, clothing, medical and dental, transportation, entertainment, charitable contributions, insurance, property taxes and any other monthly expenses you incur.
If you own a business, the Trustee will want to review the latest financial statements and your personal income tax return.
If you are married or in a common-law relationship and that person is named on some of your assets and debts, they may want to attend the initial meeting as well to see how your bankruptcy could impact them.
Once the Trustee knows your financial situation, they will advise you of your options – whether you should consolidate your debt, file a consumer proposal or file for bankruptcy. The Trustee will explain the costs, payment terms and time it will take to fully discharge your debts.
Don’t be nervous about asking questions yourself. Make sure you leave the first meeting with all the answers you need to make your decision.