What Questions Will The Chapter 7 Trustee Ask Me At My Bankruptcy Hearing?

by Dan Nunley

Seal USBC NDOK

Following are the questions your trustee is required to ask you at your bankruptcy hearing. Below these required questions are a list of sample questions your trustee may ask you depending on the facts of your case. If you have any questions about answering any of these questions, you should discuss them with your attorney before you meet with the trustee.

QUESTIONS THE TRUSTEE IS REQUIRED TO ASK YOU AT YOUR BANKRUPTCY HEARING (341(a) MEETING OF CREDITORS)

1.     State your name and current address for the record.

2.    Please provide your picture ID and social security number card for review.

a.     If the documents are in agreement with the § 341(a) meeting notice, a suggested statement for the record is:

“I have viewed the original state of ________ drivers license (or other type of original photo ID) and original social security card (or other original document used for proof) and they match the name and social security number on the § 341 (a) meeting notice.”

b.    If the documents are not in agreement with the 341(a) meeting notice, a suggested statement for the record is:

“I have viewed the original social security card (or other original document used for proof) and the number does not match the number on the § 341(a) meeting notice.  I have instructed the debtor (or debtor’s counsel) to submit to the court an amended verified statement by [date], with notice of the correct number to all creditors, the United States Trustee, and the trustee, and to file with the court a redacted copy of the notice, showing only the last four digits of the social security number, and a certificate of service.”

c.    When the documents do not match the petition, the trustee shall attempt to ascertain why, and shall report the matter to the United States Trustee.

d.    If the debtor did not bring proof of identity and social security number, the trustee shall determine why.

3.    Did you sign the petition, schedules, statements, and related documents and is the signature your own?  Did you read the petition, schedules, statements, and related documents before you signed them?

4.    Are you personally familiar with the information contained in the petition, schedules, statements and related documents?  To the best of your knowledge, is the information contained in the petition, schedules, statements, and related documents true and correct? Are there any errors or omissions to bring to my attention at this time?

5.    Are all of your assets identified on the schedules?  Have you listed all of your creditors on the schedules?

6.    Have you previously filed bankruptcy?  (If so, the trustee must obtain the case number and the discharge information to determine the debtor(s) discharge eligibility.)

7.    What is the address of your current employer?

8.    Is the copy of the tax return you provided a true copy of the most recent tax return you filed?

9.    Do you have a domestic support obligation?  To whom?  Please provide to me the claimant’s address and telephone number, but do not state it on the record.

10.    Have you read the Bankruptcy Information Sheet provided by the United States Trustee?

SAMPLE GENERAL QUESTIONS (To be asked when deemed appropriate.)

1.    Do you own or have any interest whatsoever in any real estate?

If owned: When did you purchase the property? How much did the property cost?  What are the mortgages encumbering it?  What do you estimate the present value of the property to be?  Is that the whole value or your share?  How did you arrive at that value?

If renting:  Have you ever owned the property in which you live and/or is its owner in any way related to you?

2.    Have you made any transfers of any property or given any property away within the last one year period (or such longer period as applicable under state law)?

If yes:  What did you transfer?  To whom was it transferred?  What did you receive in exchange?  What did you do with the funds?

3.    Does anyone hold property belonging to you?

If yes:  Who holds the property and what is it? What is its value?

4.    Do you have a claim against anyone or any business?

If there are large medical debts, are the medical bills from injury?
Are you the plaintiff in any lawsuit?
What is the status of each case and who is representing you?

5.    Are you entitled to life insurance proceeds or an inheritance as a result of someone’s death?

If yes:  Please explain the details.

If you become a beneficiary of anyone’s estate within six months of the date your bankruptcy petition was filed, the trustee must be advised within ten days through your counsel of the nature and extent of the property you will receive.  FRBP 1007(h)

6.    Does anyone owe you money?

If yes:  Is the money collectible?  Why haven’t you collected it? Who owes the money and where are they?

7.    Have you made any large payments, over $600, to anyone in the past year?

8.        Were federal income tax returns filed on a timely basis?  When was the last return filed? Do you have copies of the federal income tax returns?  At the time of the filing of your petition, were you entitled to a tax refund from the federal or state government?

If yes:  Inquire as to amounts.

9.    Do you have a bank account, either checking or savings?

If yes:  In what banks and what were the balances as of the date you filed your petition?

10.    When you filed your petition, did you have:

a.    any cash on hand?
b.    any U.S. Savings Bonds?
c.    any other stocks or bonds?
d.    any Certificates of Deposit?
e.    a safe deposit box in your name or in anyone else’s name?

11.    Do you own an automobile?

If yes:  What is the year, make, and value?  Do you owe any money on it?  Is it insured?

12.    Are you the owner of any cash value life insurance policies?

If yes:  State the name of the company, face amount of the policy, cash surrender value, if any, and the beneficiaries.

13.    Do you have any winning lottery tickets?

14.    Do you anticipate that you might realize any property, cash or otherwise, as a result of a divorce or separation proceeding?

15.    Regarding any consumer debts secured by your property, have you filed the required Statement of Intention with respect to the exemption, retention, or surrender of that secured property?  Please provide a copy of the statement to the trustee.  Have you performed that intention?

16.    Have you been engaged in any business during the last six years?

If yes:  Where and when?  What happened to the assets of the business?

In cases where debtors are engaged in business, the following questions should be considered:

1.    Who was responsible for maintaining financial records?

2.    Which of the following records were maintained?

a.    Cash receipts journal
b.    Cash disbursements journal
c.    General journal
d.    Accounts receivable ledger
e.    Accounts payable ledger
f.    Payroll ledger
g.    Fixed asset ledger
h.    Inventory ledger
i.    General ledger
j.    Balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statements

3.    Where are each of the foregoing records now located?

4.    Who was responsible for preparing financial statements?

5.    How often were financial statements prepared?

6.    For what periods are financial statements available?

7.    Where are such financial statements now located?

8.    Was the business on a calendar year or a fiscal year?

9.    Were federal income tax returns filed on a timely basis?  When was the last return filed?

10.    Do you have copies of the federal income tax returns?  Who does have the copies?

11.    What outside accountants were employed within the last three years?

12.    Do you have copies of the reports of such accountants?  Who does have copies?

13.    What bank accounts were maintained within the last three years?

14.    Where are the bank statements and canceled checks now located?

15.    What insurance policies were in effect within the last year?  What kind, and why?

16.    From whom can copies of such insurance policies be obtained?

17.    If the business is incorporated, where are the corporate minutes?

18.    Is the debtor owed any outstanding accounts receivable?  From whom?  Are they collectible?

19.    Is there any inventory, property, or equipment remaining?

Source: Executive Office of U.S. Trustee, Handbook for Standing Trustees, July 2002 (With Technical Amendments, effective 1/1/05; updated 341 meeting questions, effective 3/1/06; and Domestic Support Obligations, effective 10/1/08)

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Jack DiPinto January 26, 2010 at 6:22 pm

I just went to my 341 Hearing (in California) and the Trustee asked us to provide a declaration as to why my spouse is unemployed. Is this an allowed or ethical question by the trustee?

Dan Nunley January 27, 2010 at 8:04 am

Jack,

The trustee has wide latitude to inquire into anything reasonably related to your assets, debts and general financial situation. The bankruptcy code requires debtors to cooperate with the trustee as necessary to enable the trustee to perform the trustee’s duties (see 11 USC 521(a)(3). Failure to cooperate with a trustee’s reasonable request could lead to a denial of discharge.

Dan Nunley

Lisa February 1, 2010 at 7:15 pm

I am going through a bankruptcy here in Massachusetss. I have a house in another town that was purchased with my ex-husband after we got divorced. The children were very small and he is a diabetic, so we put my name on the house. He paid for everything, tax, mortgage sewer, etc. I did not pay anything on the house. Since that time, I had bought 2 other properties, showed proof to the banks that I never paid on the house. I produced actual canceled checks furnished by my ex-husband.

My ex-boyfriend gave me a gift letter on a home, then during an extension I had to go to see his atty and sign a promissory note to repay the gift amount back. His attorney didn’t want to see the gift letter and told me I had to sign it. That was in 2005. Now my ex-boyfriend is trying to get money out of the home I had my name on with my ex husband. There are more details to this, but this is the short version. Is my ex-boyfriend entitled to it? I had proven that I never paid on the house and it belongs to my ex-husband and my now grown children. I did sign the house over to my ex-husband before I ever filed for bankruptcy. The house I bought with the gift money from my ex boyfriend, he filed it as a 2nd mortgage at the registry of deeds. I had a buyer for the home but had to take it off the market because of the lien he placed on it. My lawyer told me I had to file for bankruptvy in count of him not removing the lien. His lawyer told my lawyer that he has money and wants to drag it out and make my life a living hell. This is really a mess. I have to produce W2′s (I haven’t worked in over 3 years), bank statements and I was asked all about my husband’s personal property, income and I feel that is not relevant to my case. This was all done before I married my husband less than 2 years ago.

Can you give me advice?

Dan Nunley February 2, 2010 at 11:55 am

Lisa,

No. I am unable to give you legal advice since you live in Massachusetts and I am licensed to practice law only in Oklahoma. And it seems that you already have an attorney of your own anyway. If that is the case, you should seek his/her advice. If you are dissatisfied with you attorney for some reason, then you may want to look for another attorney near you. If so, I would suggest using the Attorney Finder provided by the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. I wish you well.

Dan Nunley

Liliann March 17, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Hi,
We just went to our meeting iin Orange Californa a week ago, the trustee asked about a motorcycle and some property we had sold over a year ago due to financial problems. He decided the motorcycle was sold for less than its worth (sold for $6000 to my relative, worth 10,000 at that time) its seems his intentions are to get the motorcycle back from my relative not pay him a penny and put him in the creditors list. Is this even legal?? We made a legit sale and nobody was buying anything at that time, that’s the reason we had to sell it for less. Nobody outside my husband and myself know we are filing a BK , this will be extemely embarrasing to drag a relative into it, and get the property he paid fro taken away from him. My attorneys and paralegals have made a few mistakes costing us an extra $9,000 since they didn’t protect our Tax refund, it dont even trust they are doing a good work that’s why im desperate and asking for advice. Please Help!
Thanks

Dan Nunley March 19, 2010 at 3:47 pm

Liliann,

As I am licensed to practice law only in Oklahoma and you live in California, I cannot give you legal advice. As you are represented by an attorney already, you need to seek advice from him/her. If you are not satisfied with your attorney’s services, you may want to consider discharging him/her and hiring another. I would suggest using the Attorney Finder provided by the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. I wish you well.

Dan Nunley

Stacy February 21, 2011 at 8:46 pm

Your website has been helpful and much appreciated… I live in Oklahoma City and wish I could’ve retained you. You have put a lot of time and effort into your website and that’s awesome!

Dan Nunley February 24, 2011 at 8:27 pm

Stacy,

Thank you for your kind words regarding my web site. I’m glad that you found it helpful. I wish I was able to work together with you also. Good luck!

Dan Nunley

Leave a Comment