Q: Can a Trustee re-open a Chapter 7 closed case?
I received a discharge date on 5/8/19 on a Chapter 7 no asset. Pro se. The trustee submitted the final accounting report and Judge signed on 12/17/20. I was notified a settlement check went to the trustee. Does that mean they are going to re-open my case again? Can I hire an attorney to get my $500 settlement check back?
A: I'd be shocked if the Ch. 7 Trustee did not return that check to whoever sent it, or relayed it on to you.
Several years ago, a Ch. 7 debtor I represented sold a car for $9,000 and had a check to himself in return. I advised him to have the buyer write a second check, to the Ch. 7 trustee. A few weeks later, the Trustee returned the check to me to give to the debtor. At a hearing soon after, I mentioned that to the bankruptcy judge at the conclusion of a hearing. She explained to me that the Ch. 7 trustees are not interested in anything for under $10,000 if that's the only asset in the estate to be liquidated, because the costs of administering that, including the costs of an accountant for the Trustee to prepare the required bankruptcy reports to the court and the U.S. trustee, would consume all the money and there'd be nothing left to distribute to creditors.
Certainly, the same is true of a $500 check, especially after the case has been closed and the Ch. 7 trustee has been discharged.
Whoever owes you the $500 should just be paying you. Perhaps the Ch. 7 trustee can be enlisted to tell the check source that same thing.
A: In Arizona, the settlement is usually not exempt. Therefore, the trustee has a duty to decide if it is sufficient to administrate. The trustee may elect to return the funds to you. You can make an appointment to talk to a volunteer attorney at the Bankruptcy Court's Self-Help Center - 604-682-4007. My best to you.
A: It is very unlikely the Trustee would re-open a case for $500. Just re-opening would cost more than $500. As previously noted, Trustees will abandon assets, even if they properly belong to the estate, if the administrative costs of doing so outweigh the benefit.
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.