What Is A Bankruptcy Trustee?

At this point in your life you have probably watched enough Law & Order or Judge Judy to identify the key parties in the courtroom. You’ve heard of judges, court reporters, bailiffs, the prosecutors and defense teams in criminal cases, and the plaintiffs and defendants in civil actions. But have you ever heard of a trustee? If you are filing for bankruptcy, the trustee is someone you are going to get to know pretty well.

A Bankruptcy Trustee Is The Person Who Makes Things Happen

Bankruptcy trustees are people whose job it is to make sure bankruptcy cases run smoothly. They review debtor filings to make sure they are complete, correct, and not fraudulent; ensure all the parties who may be impacted by a case are aware it is moving forward; identify and investigate bankruptcy fraud. 

They also do a lot of hands-on work to make sure each individual case filed in the court they work for moves forward. Their duties vary depending on which chapter of the bankruptcy code the case they are working on was filed under. 

  • In a Chapter 7 case, the trustee oversees the liquidation of assets and the paying back of creditors.
  • If the debtor files under Chapter 13, the trustee oversees the repayment plan at the core of the case. They collect payments and distribute them to the various creditors. 
  • When a business files under Chapter 11, the trustee helps reorganize a debtor’s business obligations, debts, and assets.

Bankruptcy would be a much more daunting task if trustees did not exist. 

Wisconsin Bankruptcy Trustees 

Bankruptcy filers in all types of cases have far more interaction with the trustee than they do with the judge in the case. 

In Wisconsin, our trustees are currently Mary Jensen and David Asbach. Jensen works in Madison, and Asbach works here in Milwaukee. 

Both are experienced professionals who take their jobs seriously and do them well. Treating them with respect, and responding quickly and accurately to any requests they make goes a long way toward improving your bankruptcy experience. 

Milwaukee Bankruptcy Attorneys You Can Count On

As attorneys, our job is to get the trustees the information they need from our clients so they can do their job and the case can move forward. We also try to persuade the trustee to act in our client’s best interest. For example, the trustee may have the discretion to decide what happens to a particular asset, and we urge them to do whatever it is that puts our client in the best position possible. 

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, or are a creditor involved in a bankruptcy case, Hanson & Payne, LLC is here for you. Our decades of experience working on bankruptcy cases, and with bankruptcy trustees means you can count on us to guide you through even the most challenging bankruptcy cases. Please contact us to schedule an initial consultation. 

Supply Chain Disruptions Push Businesses Past Their Breaking Point

The covid-19 pandemic may be waning, but pandemic-related supply chain disruptions are still causing headaches for businesses in the Milwaukee area. Hanson & Payne, LLC regularly assists local businesses that face financial difficulties due to supply chain disruptions, and we are ready to help our clients take on this additional challenge. 

According to data compiled by Bloomberg, “72 companies with at least $50 million of liabilities have filed for bankruptcy this year as of June 21… That’s well below the 118 that had sought court protection during the same period last year, but still above the 10-year average of about 65.”

These larger bankruptcies often cause small and mid-size companies to file for bankruptcy weeks or months later as the entire supply chain is disrupted when any one company is in distress. It is very much like a domino falling when a major player declares bankruptcy. 

Add to this the end of some of the federal and state relief programs aimed at reducing the impact of the pandemic, the shortage of vital products like semiconductors, rising rates and a lack of drivers in the shipping industry, and challenges caused by wild weather and labor shortages in the agriculture sector, and you can see why many Milwaukee area business owners are on edge. It is possible the worst of the pandemic is yet to come if you are looking at it through a business lens rather than from the public health perspective. 

Now, as always, Milwaukee area businesses facing financial uncertainty can count on Hanson & Payne, LLC to have their back. Our experienced team of attorneys isn’t just paper pushers. We are business-minded counselors who can help your business navigate these uncertain times. 

Sometimes bankruptcy is the best option for a business that needs to get through a tough stretch. As we often discuss on this blog, bankruptcy is a great tool, not a mark of failure. 

In other situations, it may be better to avoid bankruptcy by tapping into one of the unique aid programs being offered by the government because of the pandemic, or head to the negotiating table and directly negotiate some needed relief. 

Creditors are just as stressed as their borrowers during this difficult time, and are more than willing to be flexible. If your business is facing cash shortages and needs temporary or permanent relief from its creditors, we may be able to negotiate terms of forbearance or loan modification with your creditors.

Because we really dig into our clients’ finances and care about their businesses, we are going to help you do what is best for your business, not what is the easiest for us to manage from the legal perspective. 

Hanson & Payne’s well-established reputation as a bankruptcy firm that knows business is what drives businesses and commercial lenders from Milwaukee and beyond to rely on Hanson & Payne when they find themselves teetering on the edge. If you are in this situation, we are ready to help get you back on solid footing. Please contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation.