Why an Ontario Trustee in Bankruptcy May Not be the Best Choice
Traditionally when people think of an Ontario trustee in bankruptcy they think of bankruptcy. The fact is that the Ontario trustee in bankruptcy has changed in recent years. In the past, if you had severe financial problems, you may have thought that bankruptcy was the only way out and so you would seek out an Ontario trustee in bankruptcy.
So what has changed? In recent years, the bankruptcy laws have changed making it more difficult to file for bankruptcy and making consumer proposals a much more attractive option for people who struggle with debt. Also, Ontario trustees in bankruptcy have begun advertising much more aggressively. If you don’t know what an Ontario trustee in bankruptcy is then you may misunderstand this advertising and think that when you are calling you are going to have some other financial options. However, generally speaking, the only two programs that bankruptcy trustees offer are bankruptcies and consumer proposals.
So what’s the big deal if you end up at an Ontario bankruptcy trustee’s office? Maybe a consumer proposal or bankruptcy was what you had in mind anyway. Going to an Ontario bankruptcy trustee may in fact be a big deal because if you buy into the debt solutions offered, a trustee does not in fact represent you and you alone through the process.
An Ontario bankruptcy trustee has a responsibility to represent both you and your creditors. This means that if you want to file a bankruptcy or consumer proposal it is the trustee’s job to ensure that your creditors get a fair deal and that they are able to get as much money out of you as possible. Here is a really great example:
- Suzy goes to an Ontario trustee in bankruptcy and decides that bankruptcy is the only option for her. The Ontario trustee in bankruptcy asks Suzy to complete a long document where she has to provide detailed financial information.
- Suzy owns a home that she bought 5 years ago for $300,000 and assumes that it is worth about the same amount of money, so she indicates on the form that the home’s value is $300,000.
- The Ontario bankruptcy trustee allows her to file for bankruptcy based on the financial disclosure that Suzy has made.
- Based on this approval, Suzy is told what her monthly payment will be over a prescribed time period.
- The Ontario trustee in bankruptcy has a team inside his or her firm which reviews the bankrupt’s assets, and without provocation from creditors, the Ontario trustee in bankruptcy later deems that Suzy’s house is worth $400,000, not $300,000.
- The Ontario trustee in bankruptcy writes to Suzy and advises her that she owes thousands of dollars in surplus income that will have to be paid to her creditors or else the Ontario trustee in bankruptcy will oppose her discharge.
Can you imagine how you would feel if this happened to you? Filing for bankruptcy or filing a consumer proposal unrepresented is much like being accused of a crime and defending yourself without representation. If you were being charged with a crime it would not be wise to go to court without a lawyer. Where an Ontario trustee in bankruptcy is concerned, it may not be a good choice to go to them directly without seeking independent financial advice. Instead, visit a financial consultant 1) to ensure that you have explored all of your financial options; 2) to ensure that you make complete disclosure and to determine your personal exposure so that nothing comes up later; and 3) to ensure that the best possible deal is negotiated with the Ontario trustee in bankruptcy.
If you have a financial problem and need help, please contact DebtCare Canada at 888-890-0888 or visit www.debtcare.ca.