Chapter 7 Trustee Todd Frealy
A few weeks ago I did a special appearance at a meeting of creditors where Mr. Frealy was the Chapter 7 Trustee. The case involved a business with a great amount of records. The hearing was continued for a second time because the Trustee did not receive the information he had sought at the first hearing. Mr. Frealy asked for a ton of documents and the debtor had difficultly coming up with what what was asked. IT happens from time to time that the trustee asks for something not prepared for and there is time that is needed to comply.
In this case, Trustee Frealy asked for the books and records of the business. This was a straight forward request. What surprised me was that the client did not keep the books and records. This in itself is grounds for baring a discharge. The debtor is coming to the Court for a discharge and he must prove by evidence that he is entitled to the relief sought. It is not enough to say, “I do not have the books and records.” What also surprised me is that the attorney who filed the case did not ask for these records ahead of time. Had the attorney done so, the issues could have been dealt with prior tot he bankruptcy filing. Even though not asked for in the petition, the attorney should have anticipated that the trustee would want these documents and have them ready to submit.
Now the case has to be continued again and again until the Debtor pieces together years of information.
Anticipate what the trustee will ask for in a hearing and either send it to him or her ahead of time or have it ready to submit. We do not make any money by going to continued hearings and giving the information piecemeal. You will help your client in the long run if you take the time to plan the presentation of his bankruptcy case, rather than operating from reaction.