Providing notice re domestic support claims:

If there is a claim against the debtor for a domestic support obligation (see 11 USC § 101(14A)), the trustee shall:
—provide written notice of the claim to the claimholder and inform the claimholder of the right to use the services of the state child support enforcement agency located in the state where the holder resides for assistance in collecting child support during and after the bankruptcy case;

—include in the notice to the claimholder the address and telephone number of the state child support enforcement agency;

—include in the notice to the claimholder an explanation of the holder’s rights to payment of the claim in the Chapter 7 proceeding;

—provide written notice to the state child support enforcement agency of the claim; and

—include in the notice to the state agency the claim holder’s name, address and telephone number. [11 USC § 704(a)(10),(c)(1)(A) & (B)]
Additionally, once the debtor has been granted a discharge under § 727, the trustee shall provide notice to both the claimholder and state child support enforcement agency of:

—the debtor’s discharge;

—the debtor’s last recent known address;

—the last recent known name and address of the debtor’s employer; and

—the name of each creditor who holds a claim that (i) was not discharged under §§ 523(a)(2) (money obtained under false pretenses), 523(a)(4) (fraud or defalcation in fiduciary capacity), or 523(a)(14A) (debt incurred to pay tax to governmental unit); or (ii) was reaffirmed by the debtor under § 524(c). [11 USC § 704(c)(1)(C)]

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Examining and objecting to proofs of claims

“If a purpose would be served,” the Chapter 7 trustee must examine proofs of claims and object to improper claims. [11 USC § 704(a)(5); see In re BCD Corp. (10th Cir. 1997) 119 F3d 852, 859—Chapter 7 trustee obligated to contest claims against estate as to which defenses exist; In re Mazzocone (BC ED PA 1995) 183 BR 402, 415, fn. 4]

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Selling debtor’s assets and using proceeds to pay creditors

To “maximize value,” the trustee is authorized to sell any nonexempt property owned by the debtor that has monetary value exceeding any encumbrances and to use the proceeds to pay administrative costs and creditor claims (see ¶ 10:97 for order of distribution). The trustee may also sell partially exempt property, but must pay the debtor the exemption amount, distributing the balance of the proceeds. Where (as is frequently the case) the debtor’s assets have little or no “value,” creditors will receive no distributions from the Chapter 7 estate.

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Collecting and liquidating estate property

he Chapter 7 trustee must collect and liquidate estate property. [11 USC § 704(a)(1); In re Martin (3rd Cir. 1996) 91 F3d 389, 394—Chapter 7 trustee has duty to creditors to realize from estate “all that is possible” for distribution among creditors; In re Hyman (9th Cir. BAP 1991) 123 BR 342, 347 (collecting cases); but see also Matter of Taxman Clothing Co. (7th Cir. 1995) 49 F3d 310, 315—trustee has no duty to collect an estate asset if cost of collection would exceed asset’s value]

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Liens

The Chapter 7 Trustee has the power to determine the priority of the liens.

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Trustees Fiduciary Duties

The Chapter 7 trustee owes a fiduciary duty to each creditor of the debtor. [Germain v. Connecticut Nat’l Bank (2nd Cir. 1993) 988 F2d 1323, 1330, fn. 8—Chapter 7 trustee owes fiduciary duty both to debtor and to creditors as a group; Matter of Troy Dodson Const. Co., Inc. (5th Cir. 1993) 993 F2d 1211, 1216–1217; Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of Grand Eagle Cos., Inc. v. ASEA Brown Boveri, Inc. (ND OH 2004) 313 BR 219, 224]

Must treat all creditors fairly: The Chapter 7 trustee “has a duty to treat all creditors fairly and to exercise that measure of care and diligence that an ordinarily prudent person under similar circumstances would exercise.” [In re Cochise College Park, Inc. (9th Cir. 1983) 703 F2d 1339, 1357]

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Where address provided by creditor prepetition:

If within 90 days before the debtor files a voluntary bankruptcy case a creditor sends the debtor at least two communications containing the debtor’s current account number and the address at which the creditor requests to receive correspondence, any required notice sent by the debtor to the creditor must include that address and that account number. Or, if the creditor would violate nonbankruptcy law by sending the communication within 90 days prepetition, the debtor must use the address/account number provided by the creditor in the last two communications.

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