Everyone who files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy—both individuals and businesses alike—must attend a hearing called the 341 meeting of creditors. At the hearing, the bankruptcy trustee—the person responsible for overseeing your case—will verify your identity and ask questions about your bankruptcy filing under oath. Your creditors will also have the opportunity to ask you questions about your financial affairs and the information in your bankruptcy papers (but rarely do).
The Chapter 7 meeting of creditors (also called the 341 hearing) is a meeting at which the bankruptcy trustee and your creditors get to ask you questions under oath about your bankruptcy petition and the documents you’re required to provide to the trustee. The meeting of creditors is essentially a hearing used to verify that the information contained in your bankruptcy papers is accurate and complete.
You’ll also be required to prove your identity by presenting two forms of identification—usually a driver’s license (or a military identification card or passport) and your social security card. These steps prevent and identify fraudulent filings.
Sample Questions a Trustee could ask in a 341 meeting:
- Did you sign the petition, schedules, statements, and related documents?
- Did you read the petition, schedules, statements and related documents before you signed them?
- Are you personally familiar with the information contained in the petition, schedules, statements and related documents?
- Is the information contained in the petition and all accompanying documents true and correct? Are there any errors or omissions that you are aware of at this time?
- Have you identified all of your assets on the schedules? (assets include anything of value including accounts of all kinds, real property no matter if it is located out of the country, or personal property including even clothes and wedding rings).
- Have you listed all of your creditors on the schedules? (creditors include relatives and anyone to whom you owe money)
- Have you previously filed bankruptcy? (generally bankruptcies older than 8 years for Chapter 7 and less for Chapter 13 are fine, but they still need to be disclosed to the Bankruptcy Court and Trustee)
- Is the copy of the tax return your attorney provided to my office before this meeting a true copy of the most recent tax return you filed? (if you have filed a more recent tax return, be sure to give a copy to your attorney a week prior to the meeting, or bring a copy to the meeting if it is even more recent than that).
- Do you have a domestic support obligation such as child support or alimony that you owe another? To whom? You will be asked to fill out a form to provide the claimant’s address and telephone number, but do not state it on the record for privacy reasons.
- You will be asked if you are current on your post-petition domestic support obligations?
- Have you filed all required tax returns for the past four years? If you have not, you likely are not going to be eligible for bankruptcy relief unless you can get these done and quickly filed before a motion to dismiss is filed.
- If you are expecting a tax refund for the year prior to filing your bankruptcy, you will need to send the refund check to the Trustee (do not direct deposit) and the Trustee will do a calculation after the meeting to pro-rate the amounts over the 365 days of the preceding year. The Trustee will return a portion to you representing any exemptions claimed and for the time period after you file bankruptcy.
- Did you review the bankruptcy information sheet (this was provided to you when you hired us and explains the various types of bankruptcies)?
- Have you repaid any debts to family or friends in the last year?
- What is the reason for your bankruptcy filing?
- How did you arrive at the values you listed for your personal property on your schedules?
- Are you paid by the hour or salary? What is your hourly rate/salary?
- Identify any ownership interest and mortgages for real estate, even out of the country (all of this should be listed on your petition also)?
- Any transfers (giving or selling) anything to relatives or insiders in the past two years?
- Anyone holding any property for you?
- Have a claim against anyone else such as a slip and fall, car accident, someone owing you money etc.?
- Entitled to life insurance proceeds or an inheritance upon someone’s death?
- Are you a beneficiary or trustee of a trust?
- Do you own a business?