If you're having trouble paying off your debt, you're not alone. In fact, more than 118,000 Canadians filed for personal bankruptcy or consumer proposal in 2013 alone. If you're a viable candidate, a personal bankruptcy could help to eliminate some of your unsecured debt and make your repayments much more manageable. However, it's recommended that you hire a bankruptcy trustee to help you throughout the process. Furthermore, there are some specific questions you should take time to ask your trustee during your initial consultation.
"What Do You Charge?"
You're considering bankruptcy because of your money concerns, so of course you'll want to find out how much your trustee's professional services are going to cost you. Just as importantly, you'll want to find out whether or not you'll have any upfront fees; most reputable bankruptcy trustees these days won't charge you anything until after you've filed, but it's still a good idea to make sure. In addition to the trustee's fees, you'll also want to find out what other expenses or losses you could incur as a result of your filing; for example, will you lose any assets? Will you be required to make surplus income payments? These are all questions your trustee should be able to answer upon reviewing your case.
"What's the Best Option?"
Understand that your bankruptcy trustee is legally obligated to inform you of all your debt relief options based on your specific situation (how much you owe, what assets you own, etc.). While the ultimate decision is up to you, it's a good idea to obtain some expert advice from your trustee regarding what you best debt relief option is. After all, even though your trustee specializes in helping people file for bankruptcy, these experts can generally help you make an informed decision—even if it turns out a bankruptcy isn't your best option.
If you decide to go through with the bankruptcy filing, you'll want to get an idea of what to expect in the coming weeks and months. Your trustee should be able to walk you through the process and give you an idea of what your responsibilities will be along the way. For starters, you'll probably be asked to fill out some paperwork and bring in official documentation of your debt owed and assets owned. Either way, you shouldn't leave your trustee's office after that first meeting without a detailed game plan.