If you are considering filing bankruptcy or a consumer proposal, you must select a trustee to work with you throughout the process. All bankruptcy trustees in Canada are licensed by the Federal government. That means that each has gone through extensive training and gained practical experience necessary to practice bankruptcy law and be granted a license. So technically, any bankruptcy trustee across Canada can help you file your bankruptcy, but should they?
How do I know which bankruptcy trustee to choose?
I suggest you “interview” your prospective bankruptcy trustee by asking these five important questions:
- Are you licensed by the Federal government? This is a trick question; we just said all trustees are licensed by the Federal government, but it’s important to confirm that you are dealing with a licensed trustee and not an unlicensed debt consultant who advertises information about personal bankruptcy. Many companies will offer bankruptcy and consumer proposal advice, but are in essence middlemen charging you a fee to eventually refer you to an actual trustee to file.
- What information should I bring to my initial consultation? At Hoyes Michalos, we want to give you advice specific to your situation, so we will suggest you bring information about your debts, assets, and monthly income. If a trustee firm books a consultation without asking for specific information, your meeting may not be very productive.
- When will I meet a licensed bankruptcy trustee? At Hoyes Michalos you will meet with a licensed trustee for a full assessment of your situation BEFORE you sign any paperwork. At many firms you deal only with a “sales person,” and only meet with a trustee for a very short time when you sign the paperwork. We believe that it is important that each and every person who files with us is absolutely sure that the choice they have made is the right one. That means that our trustees talk with you in detail, not review a file, sign and move on.
- Once I file, who will I be dealing with at your firm? At Hoyes Michalos you have access to our entire team of professionals. We will give you a list of the key phone extensions for your important contacts, including our payments, statements and tax department. That way, if you have an issue during normal business hours you can dial directly to a LIVE PERSON. We also provide you with important e-mail addresses if you prefer e-mail as a main contact method. Of course, your trustee is also available if you have specific questions, or if you want to arrange a meeting to discuss any aspect regarding your file.
- What assistance will you give me to get me back on track once I’m discharged? As with all trustees, we provide two credit counselling sessions, but we also provide you with many additional resources. Once you file we will give you access to our “for clients only” website that contains information about re-building your credit, getting a free credit report, budgeting and saving money. We also offer a free “fresh start” program to help you learn to re-build your credit.
Once you meet with us, you will have many other questions about the cost of filing bankruptcy or a consume proposal, and you’ll want a detailed explanation of all of your options. In fact, we encourage you to ask as many questions as you need; we won’t limit you to just the above five questions.