If I See A Trustee, Can He or She Force Me into Bankruptcy?
November 27th, 2015 by Wendy O.
The answer is no! A Trustee’s role is to provide you with information on your options, and assist with the process IF you decide to go ahead with Bankruptcy or Consumer Proposal. The Trustee cannot “declare you Bankrupt.”
It’s a common misconception that Bankruptcy is something that can automatically “happen” or be imposed upon you, as soon as you are discovered to be insolvent (can’t pay your bills). But this is not the case.
To sort this out, it’s helpful to distinguish between insolvency, which is the state you are in while unable to pay bills, and Bankruptcy, which along with Consumer Proposal is a process you can undertake to resolve your insolvency and satisfy your creditors.
You are in the driver’s seat when you make an appointment to see a Trustee
Most people, once they reach this point, have been experiencing financial stress for some time and may be feeling very small and fearful. This is why we worry about what will happen during our first appointment. But for most who see a Trustee, it is the first day of many better days ahead.
In my own case, I had been losing sleep for a long time before I made my appointment. I had the same misgiving – could I possibly be making my problems worse by seeing a professional and admitting to what was happening? Unfortunately, this very natural concern causes many to delay seeking the advice of a Trustee.
We all have our own reasons for having become insolvent. Rest assured, the Trustee will not find your situation shocking. In fact, my own Trustee was very reassuring right from the start, pointing out how often this situation happens to perfectly responsible consumers. He then looked at the numbers I had brought with me, and was able to begin outlining my options.
Seeing the Trustee was not nearly as stressful as sitting at home worrying!
So, why do we ever hear that anyone was “forced into Bankruptcy”?
Let’s clear up this area of doubt. This phrase is sometimes used when a creditor uses a court process to petition for the Bankruptcy of a person or company. This virtually never happens to individuals with simple consumer debt, because there is no reason for your creditors to wish you Bankrupt – they hope, instead, that you will try to continue paying them. Also, the court process is expensive – it is generally reserved for companies that have become insolvent and ceased to communicate with their creditors.
If you’ve read this far, you’re probably experiencing some financial stress of your own. I encourage you to make an appointment to see a Trustee, and learn about your options. There’s no risk, and the appointment is free.