Bankruptcy cases are overseen by the U.S. Trustee Program, which is a part of the Department of Justice. The U.S. Trustee program oversees the administration of bankruptcy cases throughout the United States. The states are divided into 21 regions. The state of Kansas is included in Region 20, with the regional office located in Wichita, Kansas. The state of Missouri is included in Region 13, with the regional office located in Kansas City, Missouri.
The U.S. Trustees and Assistant U.S. Trustees review cases to ensure they are properly handled by monitoring the parties involved in cases, potential fraud, and compliance with laws and procedures. The U.S. Trustees also monitor the private trustees who are assigned to bankruptcy cases at the time of filing. The private trustees are appointed to their positions and are not employees of the federal government; these are the trustees you will encounter at your 341 hearing.
Chapter 7 private trustees are appointed to a panel of trustees for a specific judicial district. These trustees are randomly assigned at the time cases are filed. The chapter 7 bankruptcy trustees will administer cases to review for the possible liquidation of non-exempt assets and appropriate payments to creditors.
Chapter 13 private trustees are appointed to a specific region. There are three chapter 13 trustees for the state of Kansas. One trustee is assigned to Topeka, another to Kansas City, and one to Wichita. In Missouri there are two chapter 13 trustees, one assigned to the Western District of Missouri, which includes Kansas City and one to the Eastern District, which encompasses St Louis. The chapter 13 trustees will review your case for any possible plan confirmation issues, receive your plan payments, and distribute money to your creditors.
It is important to remember that the trustees are not going to judge you for filing bankruptcy. The trustees are reviewing cases for assets, potential fraud, and income issues. The trustees will not try to belittle you at your 341 hearing, they are simply going to review your case and ask for any necessary clarifying information.
If you are contemplating whether bankruptcy is the right choice for you, arrange for a free initial consultation with a Kansas City bankruptcy attorney.