Let’s get started with a formal introduction, you can give me your full name, business name, and website address.
My name is Jillian Taylor-Mancusi, I am a Trustee in Bankruptcy and Managing Partner at LCTaylor. Our company website is lctaylor.com.
Okay, how long have you been a Bankruptcy Trustee for? I have been a Bankruptcy Trustee since 2007.
And what area do you service? So geographically, are there any specific cities or specific areas that you work with?
We are operated in Manitoba and in North West Ontario, our primary office is in Winnipeg and we also have a remote office in Kenora, Ontario.
What would you say the top three causes of debts problems are that bring clients to your door?
There are a number of reasons that people get into debt and I would say that the primary cause of financial difficulty would be marriage break up. And the primary reason for that would be, when you are happily married you have two incomes coming in supporting one household. When a marriage or a relationship breaks up then you’re really supporting two households on one income that you’ve always been used to supporting with two.
The other reason that people have financial difficulty, I find in our area would be unpaid income tax. You find that there’s a lot of self employed people out there, whether it be self employed professionals or self employed construction people, and they are not really well versed on how to budget their money properly, how to make sure that their taxes are being paid on time, and then they tend to fall into a bit of a hole and not being able to catch up and get themselves out of that.
The third thing I would say would be gambling and other addictions, especially since things such as VLPs came into the market 10/20 years ago, I find that there’s a lot of people that have gambling addictions as well as a lot new online gambling that’s available, so there’s a lot of people that have those kinds of unfortunate addictions that eat up a lot of their money and put some tough financial difficulties.
Who would you say that a Bankruptcy Trustee works for?
Is it the individual that is coming to you for help? Or is it for the companies, organizations etc. that are looking to collect the funds they are owed?
Technically a Bankruptcy Trustee works for the unsecured creditors and their job is to try and maximize the realization for those unsecured creditors so that they might be able to get something back when someone goes bankrupt.
But in reality, a trustee in bankruptcy wears a number of different hats. So for example, when somebody comes to our door looking for financial advice or options to deal with their financial difficulty, the trustee is wearing a hat where they’re giving that person all of the options that are available to them.
What would you say most people are worried about when they come to see you?
Most people are worried about the stigma that’s attached to a bankruptcy. Back 40, 50 years ago people didn’t go bankrupt, and there was a real stigma that was attached to people who did find themselves in financial difficulty and how to go ahead through a bankruptcy. But the world changed when things like credit cards become readily available and consumer debt levels increased, therefore things like consumer proposals, and bankruptcies increased as well.
And I find that there are still a lot of people that are worried about that stigma and how people are going to judge them. But what they don’t realize is there are so many people that are in the same situation as them, and are just looking for that ability to start over as a clean slate.
Why should clients not feel embarrassed about coming to see you?
People should not be embarrassed coming in to speak with a bankruptcy trustee because there's a lot of people out there who are in financial difficulty, and are unable to find the right options to get them back on track.
In order to file bankruptcy, technically you need to owe a $1,000 as well as be insolvent or unable to pay your debts as they come due.
Now, that probably affects most people walking down the street and that’s what people don’t realize is that they are not alone. There are a lot of people that have financial difficulty. And it’s just a matter of how much those people can handle as far as juggling bills or trying to budget themselves out and sometimes they just need the extra help that a Trustee can give you.
What is the difference between a consumer proposal and a bankruptcy?