You might think that choosing a bankruptcy trustee begins with the first meeting at a trustee’s office, but when you are facing a choice of debt consolidation or bankruptcy, your selection process should begin before a meeting. All Trustees are required to follow the same set of Federal laws but your financial information is very personal, so the trustee you decide to work with needs to be someone you feel extremely comfortable with, and someone you feel you can trust.
So, how do you choose someone who can objectively discuss debt consolidation vs bankruptcy? When you seek out other professionals, such as an accountant, dentist, or lawyer, you may already have a process for making a final selection. Perhaps it’s word of mouth, coupled with reviews, accreditation, and education. All these attributes are important.
To select a bankruptcy trustee you can use these methods, and add one. You need to determine whether the trustee you decide to work with has empathy. It’s not a question you can ask directly, but reviews left by previous clients may give clues. And you can use your screening call or meeting to assess empathy and understanding. This quality is important because you may feel a range of emotions about the prospect of debt consolidation or bankruptcy. And you might feel stressed or emotional during the process. This is normal, and it takes a skilled and empathetic bankruptcy trustee to manage your account.
Find an Area you Know
Most trustees offer free consultations where you can set down with them and discuss you financial options and what any proceeding would entail so the first, and often hardest, step should be to set up an appointment. It does not cost anything and you can find out quickly if you and the trustee will be a good fit. It is often a good idea to pick a trustee in your area or in a familiar location that is accessible as you will be attending meetings and budgets sessions if you move forward.
If you have any family or friends you trust who may have had similar issues they may be able to point you in the right direction.
Research Potential Bankruptcy and Debt Consolidation Trustees
Select three or four trustees for consideration and research them carefully. Yelp and Google allow people to review pretty much everything, from car dealerships through to hair salons, surgeons, and architects. You’ll be able to see how well other clients rate them on things like customer service, knowledge, recommendation, and understanding.
Next, look at the bankruptcy trustee websites and read staff profiles and testimonials. Also look at profiles on LinkedIn, and take into account education and any recommendations from clients or other professionals.
From all this information, see if you can determine if a debt consolidation trustee is viewed as responsive and approachable. Is their knowledge comprehensive and up-to-date? For the two or three trustees who pass your initial screening, phone them and see if you can have an initial telephone consultation. If not, head to their office for a screening meeting.
Connecting With a Bankruptcy Trustee
When it comes to debt consolidation or bankruptcy, your initial phone call or introductory with a trustee will give you a good sense of what the trustee is to talk to, as well as their manner and communication skills. Look for someone who is competent. For example, did the individual respond within a day or two to your initial query, especially if you told them your situation was urgent? Were they friendly yet professional? Did they understand your issues and specific concerns?
Don’t forget that in a debt consolidation situation it’s really important for you to feel at ease with the trustee. They will be working with you through one of your most challenging – and sometimes stressful – times. So you need to feel assured that they won’t judge you and are respectful and empathetic.
Fundamentally, you need to feel sure that you’ll be comfortable working with the individual and trust that they will give you the best advice possible.
Debt Consolidation and Bankruptcy: Preparing For Your First Formal Meeting
Remember, whenever you receive advice and guidance from a professional, it is usually based on the information you give them. So try to be organized ahead of the meeting. Take all the necessary paperwork with you, and also have a notebook on-hand so that you can document any key points or requests.
Many debt consolidation or bankruptcy trustees will fill out an information form with you at the meeting so they can get an idea of the big picture and how best to help.
As the meeting gets underway, ask the trustee if they will give you a handout detailing key points and next steps. Most good trustees will do this, but if they don’t be sure to take detailed notes and request a follow-up email so you can ask any questions you may have forgotten.
Managing Your First Trustee Meeting
Some people understand financial regulations fairly easily, while others need greater detail. If something isn’t clear to you, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. In a situation like that old adage definitely does apply – there’s no such thing as a stupid question. Bankruptcy and debt consolidation regulations can be complex and so it’s up to you to make sure you understand what’s being explained.
It’s essential that you don’t feel forced to agree to a trustee’s recommendations; and, in fact, a good debt consolidation or bankruptcy trustee should never pressure you into accepting advice. At the end of the day, you decide what action you will take to get out of debt.
Deal with Debt Consolidation or Bankruptcy Today
Now that you’re ready to begin searching for a trustee to manage debt consolidation or bankruptcy, start by contacting Kevin Thatcher & Associates at 1-888-329-5198 for an initial free consultation. We’re sure that you will be impressed with our professionalism, knowledge, and empathy. We’re ready to work with you immediately so that you can get your finances back into shape as soon as possible.