California Bankruptcy Trustees document portals should be ranked. As I’m doing in this 1st Annual Faucher Law Ranking of bankruptcy Document Portals! Bankruptcy Trustees require many documents substantiating the information contained in chapter 7 bankruptcy petitions. This is done via web portals for the upload of documents. There are many such portals. But not all portals were created equal: some are easy to use and some are downright terrible. Thus, the “need” for this portal assessment. Maybe the “shame” of a low ranking will make Trustees who use mediocre portals consider switching, or maybe the portal providers will improve their product.
What is a Bankruptcy Trustee Document Portal?
Once a chapter 7 bankruptcy petition is filed, the bankruptcy court schedules a 341 hearing. At this hearing, the Bankruptcy Trustee asks the debtor questions regarding information on their petition. Both before and after the 341 Hearing, the Trustee and (and bankruptcy law), requires substantiation of financial information in the bankruptcy schedules, information such as: the debtor’s identification, their recent bank statements and tax returns. These need to be uploaded to each Bankruptcy Trustee’s portal. While this seems straightforward, not all trustee portals are created equal. Some portals are easy to use, while others are a real challenge to navigate. Here’s my ranking of the four Bankruptcy Trustee document portals that I use most frequently.
Last Place: Axos
In last place is Axos. This Trustee portal is used infrequently, for which I (and my staff) are thankful! To access this website, the bankruptcy attorney or debtor is emailed a Trustee-specific secure link. Kudos on the security, but the link is hard to find in an email box when documents need to be uploaded on dates long after the initial link was sent. Axos requires the client case number to be entered manually. Moreover, if the wrong case number is accidentally typed, the system does not alert the user to this, nor provide the correct case number. Among the few pluses of Axos, it is easy to drag and drop client files from our computer to the website. Once files are uploaded, the system provides a list of the documents that have been submitted, BUT it still does not list the debtors’ name. Axos could easily move up our ranking if the client’s name was listed anywhere on the portal.
In third place of the four portals ranked is KCC/Title xi. This Trustee portal is relatively easy to use but hard to access. Like Axos, KCC can be accessed only with an email link. Moreover, even when I can find the email and get into the site, it randomly logs me out. Annoying. But the worst feature of KCC is that you cannot add documents under a checklist item at different times. For example, all bank statements must be entered at the same time because the checklist goes away once any documents are uploaded. Consider how thoughtless this is: all Trustees require the bank statements that include the date of the bankruptcy’s filing, a document that often takes 3-4 weeks after filing to become available. So, while we have all the other documents and could begin the uploading process, we cannot do so because the portal losses the necessary link to upload if it’s been used previously. Moreover, Bankruptcy Trustees typically require the documents seven days prior to the 341 Hearing, but the final bank statements often come in later than that – AND they then can’t be uploaded. Can someone fire the person who thought this up? As for positives, at least KCC shows the client’s name on-screen, unlike Axos, which is why KCC places second-from-bottom not in last place.
Our runner up is Stretto. Unlike Axos and KCC, Stretto does not require an email link to access. Despite Stretto requiring multi-factor authentication to get into the site, it’s faster to get into the Stretto site that Axos or KCC. Documents needing to be uploaded can be found via multiple ways: with hearing date, case name, case number, and/or trustee. Each of these categories has a drop-down menu, allowing me to quickly find client and checklist. Once a client is selected, tracking what’s been submitted is extremely easy because the same screen shows all the documents that have been uploaded and those still needed. The Trustee’s contact information is also listed, making it super-easy to send them documents not included in the checklist. Really strong site. My thanks to the Trustees who use Stretto.
And the Winner Is: Blue Stylus!
Blue Stylus is my favorite Bankruptcy Trustee portal. It’s easily accessed on my computers’ bookmark page because the link never changes. Blue Stylus lists all Trustees’ 341 hearings, I can manage multiple clients (with different Trustees) in one visit. The checklists are all on one page, and do not disappear when some or all documents have been uploaded. Blue Stylus also includes upload space for miscellaneous documents, in case the Trustee continues the 341 and asks for additional document. In short, Blue Stylus is convenient and makes the process of uploading documents an (almost) enjoyable experience. Good work!
I urge Bankruptcy Trustees to consider using portals that are easy to use: it will save both Trustee and attorney/debtor a lot of time and hassle. Alternatively, Axos and KCC – take some customer feed-back to heart and get to work on improving your product.
October 27, 2023