Bankruptcy trustee panel members must meet requirements

For a person to be a member of the bankruptcy trustee panel and handle the trustee matters of bankruptcy case, that person must meet a number of requirements dictated by the United States Department of Justice. One reason for such requirements is that trustees have a great deal of responsible, both to the court and to the debtors and creditors involved in a bankruptcy matter. Trustees may also wield some amount of power over assets, making it important that the person be honest and of high integrity to ensure proper administration of funds and valuables.

In addition to appropriate moral character, a trustee must demonstrate the mental and physical capability to carry out duties and show himself or herself to be free of any prejudices that might interfere with the ability to deliver unbiased performance in those duties. A trustee cannot be related as a first cousin or closer to any other employee of the Department of Justice's Executive Office for United States Trustees.

Trustees must also demonstrate professional capabilities and experience with relevant subject matter by being a certified public accountant or a member of the bar association at the highest level within the trustee's state. Other credentials that are acceptable in lieu of bar membership or CPA status include status as a senior law student, a candidate for certain business-related master's degree programs or a four-year degree in an applicable business major from an accredited university. Individuals also have to submit an application, which is done so under oath.

Selecting individuals to work as trustees on bankruptcy cases is a very serious matter because bankruptcies themselves are very serious. While the court puts a great deal of effort into ensuring appropriate individuals are handling matters in and around the court, individuals who are facing the need for bankruptcy should put equal effort into choosing a professional to assist them and putting a plan in place for a bankruptcy.

Source: United States Department of Justice, "Handbook for Chapter 7 Trustees," accessed Jan. 08, 2016

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