My clients often ask about the Trustee Meeting.
Whether you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you have to attend a hearing called the meeting of creditors (also called the 341 hearing) to answer questions about the information contained in your bankruptcy paperwork. The meeting of creditors is conducted by the bankruptcy trustee appointed in your case.
Most trustee questions are fairly standard. But they can vary depending on the specifics of your case and whether you filed for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Read on to learn more about the commonly asked questions at the meeting of creditors.
Why Does the Trustee Ask You Questions?
When administering your case, the trustee must verify the information disclosed in your bankruptcy paperwork and determine whether you have any property that can benefit the bankruptcy estate.
Prior to your scheduled meeting of creditors, the trustee reviews your bankruptcy petition, schedules, and all supporting documents (such as tax returns and pay stubs). At the hearing, the trustee’s job is to have you verify under oath that all of the information you disclosed is correct and ask you questions regarding any discrepancies, errors, or items that don’t comply with applicable bankruptcy laws.
What Is the Trustee Looking for?
In addition to making sure that your paperwork is accurate and complete, the trustee will be on the lookout for omitted or undervalued assets, undisclosed income, fraudulently transferred property, and any other red flags that can benefit your creditors or indicate abuse of the bankruptcy process.
In general, if you were honest in your paperwork and accurately disclosed all of your income, assets, and expenses, the meeting of creditors will be a short and simple hearing. But keep in mind that lying on your bankruptcy petition, concealing assets, or otherwise committing bankruptcy fraud can lead to denial of your discharge and criminal prosecution.
Trustee Questions in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the trustee pays your creditors with proceeds obtained from the sale of your nonexempt assets. This means that most of the trustee’s questions in Chapter 7 bankruptcy will typically focus on your property and bankruptcy exemptions.
In contrast, Chapter 13 is a reorganization bankruptcy that allows you to keep your nonexempt property in exchange for paying a portion of your debts through a repayment plan. As a result, a Chapter 13 trustee will usually go into more detail about your monthly income and expenses to make sure you are paying all of your disposable income to your creditors through your repayment plan.
Common Questions the Trustee Might Ask at the Meeting of Creditors
The questions you can expect at the meeting of creditors will differ depending on your trustee and the specifics of your case. But the following are some of the most common questions the trustee may ask:
- Are you familiar with all of the information contained in your bankruptcy paperwork?
- Did you review and sign your bankruptcy petition and schedules before you filed them with the court?
- Is all of the information in your bankruptcy paperwork complete and accurate to the best of your knowledge?
- Did you list all of your property?
- Are all of your creditors listed in your bankruptcy schedules?
- What is your gross monthly income?
- Have you filed for bankruptcy previously?
- Are there any changes or omissions that you wish to bring to my attention?
- Are you obligated to pay alimony or child support?
- Have you filed all of your tax returns that have come due?
- Have you given away or transferred any property within the last two years? (But keep in mind that some trustees may go back further in time.)
- When was the last time you incurred new charges on your credit cards?
- Have you made payments to any creditors within one year of your bankruptcy?
- How did you value your property?
- Do you have a business, corporation, or partnership?
- Is your home or car currently insured?
This attorney did a good job explaining about the questions to expect at your meeting.