What can I expect from a first consultation with an insolvency trustee?

What is the cost and how long does it last?

That is a valid concern because people facing financial problems usually don’t have much money to pay for professional fees. So, how does it work?

Firstly, the initial consultation with a licensed insolvency trustee is  always free of charge. Subsequently, if you choose to file a consumer proposal, the law stipulates that the fees for these are fully covered by the creditors and deducted from the amounts promised to them in the proposal.

If you opt for bankruptcy, there may be mandatory monthly contributions if you earn more than the minimum amount determined by government standards.

If your income is less than the minimum, you and the trustee will set an acceptable, realistic amount that takes into account all your family and personal obligations. The goal is to no longer feel the financial pressure that you are experiencing.

How long does the first consultation with a trustee last?

The first meeting typically lasts between 30 minutes to one hour, depending on the circumstances. An additional meeting may be required depending on the complexity of the case and if you need it. These meetings are free of charge and without obligation.

What are the steps and objectives of the first meeting?

During the initial meeting with a licensed insolvency trustee, the following steps will enable you to make an informed decision to resolve your indebtedness:

  1. Identify the causes of your financial difficulties.
  2. Analyze your financial situation, including income, expenses, debts and assets.
  3. Answer all your questions and address your concerns.
  4. Explain the various solutions (their advantages and inconveniences) and help you choose the best one.

Following this meeting, you will know what your options are, you will have the answers to all your questions and you will be able to make an informed decision.

What should I bring?*
List your debts and recent account statements Mortgage statement Contract of sale / lease
Pay stub or bank statement Municipal tax bill State of recent account
Alimony ( judgment or agreement ) Act of purchase (if possible) Registrations and insurance copies

* Although it is convenient to have these documents in hand for the first meeting, they are not essential and may always be provided thereafter , as required.

What are the 4 most popular solutions to settle debts?

There are 4 possible solutions:

  • Budgeting: With some help and effort, it is sometimes possible to reduce certain expenses to setup a good debt repayment plan.
  • Debt consolidation: When your credit is good and you have the means to repay a loan, consolidation can be a good tool.
  • Consumer proposal: When consolidation is not possible, the proposal allows for a reduced amount and 0% interest rate that translates into much lower monthly payments.
  • Bankruptcy: If none of these options are possible, bankruptcy can be a simple and relatively inexpensive alternative to quickly get back on track.

The most important advice we can offer? Don’t be afraid to seek advice: being well informed will help you make the best decision.

By Pierre Fortin
Jean Fortin & Associés
Personal Finance Advisor
Licensed Insolvency Trustee