A bankruptcy trustee is the individual assigned by the court to administer a bankruptcy case. Bankruptcy trustees are appointed by the United States Trustee, who is an officer of the Department of Justice.
The role of a bankruptcy trustee varies depending on whether it is a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, the role of the trustee is to determine whether any of the debtor’s assets must be liquidated, review the claims of exemption and evaluate whether the debtor is entitled to a discharge.
For purposes of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding, the trustee basically acts as a representative for the debtor’s creditors. The trustee can object to exemption claims or oppose the debtor’s discharge. Those issues are then decided by the bankruptcy judge.
The trustee in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case performs the same basic duties as a Chapter 7 trustee. The difference is that a Chapter 13 trustee has the additional responsibility of disbursing the payments made by the debtor under their Chapter 13 repayment plan.