Presenter Doug Constable on Bankruptcy and Trustees

By February 16, 2018Doug Constable


Over the years, I have dealt with a large number of trustees, and whether you go for a private trustee or a government trustee, really depends on your own personal situation. The underlying thing I’ve found with trustees, is to find one that you can talk to and you can deal with. If you leave it up to your creditors to bankrupt you, and they put in their own trustee, they are going to be very aggressive.

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Whereas if you go bankrupt yourself, and whether it be with AFSA government trustee or whether you choose a private one, you can deal with them and you can talk to them. And the thing to remember is that the trustee is there for you as well. He’s not just there for the creditors, he’s there for you as well, to handle your financial affairs, so that you can draw a line in the sand and get back on track.

When a creditor wants to bankrupt you, it goes to the federal court, and the federal court will appoint a trustee. Now the creditor has the option of having a nominated trustee, where he nominates the trustee he would prefer. Undoubtedly, in those situations I’ve found that the trustee is there with the creditor’s interests, he is not impartial.

It’s hard enough to have an impartial trustee as it is, so the best thing to do is to you to go bankrupt. Now whether that be a government AFSA, or whether that be a private trustee that you appoint, it depends on your circumstances. I personally have a preference for – appointing AFSA and then if you need to, you can and there’s a creditor that would like your file transferred to a private trustee – doing it that way. I found that’s a very well, very good to deal with and very understanding, as opposed to some of the private trustees.

Again the thing to do is that when they send a letter out wanting more information, is to get on to it and answer it as quickly as possible. The longer you leave things with a trustee, and the longer you procrastinated out, or you’re not too sure of the answer, the more they start to delve into it and look for the reasons why you’re not answering. Whereas if you answer it and it’s a satisfactory answer, and it’s the right answer, well then that finishes it and then your file’s closed and off it goes. While if your file’s open and they’re looking into things more things happen.

Over the years, the number of people that have either struggled on in business or struggled on without going bankrupt, and things go wrong, more people come in, the Tax Office gets involved, it just goes on and on and on. And all of a sudden, they’ve got this massive problem, whereas if they had done it Day 1 and planned it, then they wouldn’t have had all those problems, and they would have brought a lot less stress on them and their family and on their own financial situation and their own future.