What to Expect at a §341 Hearing (Meeting of the Creditors)
If you get to the hearing a bit early, you can eavesdrop on the questions that the Trustee will be asking everyone else. These are public hearings and each Trustee has roughly the same routine for each person through the day. It will go something like this:
- Can you hold up your right hand please? Do you swear that the information you provide today is true and understand that you are making these statements under oath?
- May I have your social security card and driver's license?
- Let the record reflect I have now verified the debtor through use of the social security card and driver license.
- Look at page 3 of the petition. Is this your original signature? Has anything changed since the time you filed your bankruptcy?
- Look over the property listed on Schedule A and B, is anything missing? Are you listed on the title of the house? (If you have enough equity in a vehicle or any other property item the trustee may send an appraiser to appraise your property for auction value or require pictures or further information from you. The spend-down of any non exempt tax refunds will need to be explained.)
- Going through Schedules D-F, did you disclose all of your creditors?
- Have any creditors contacted you since you've filed showing that you've missed a debt?
- What's your marital status? How many dependents do you have?
- Where do you work? What is your employer's phone number?
- Are you making roughly the same amount of income as when you filed the bankruptcy?
- The Trustee may ensure that it is your signature on the remaining signature pages.
- Have you paid any creditors more than $600 in the last 90 days?
- Have you transferred any property to friends or family members in the last 4 years?
- Do you have any money in a PayPal or other non-bank account?
- Do you understand your obligation if you win the lottery or if a family member dies within 6 months of your bankruptcy filing date? (If you receive the right to inherit money or win money within 6 months of the filing date, you need to let me know and I have to report it to the Trustee. The Trustee has the option of pursuing windfalls of money to repay your creditors. Even if you don't receive the money within those 6 months, if the family member passes away within those 6 months, the Trustee may have the right to pursue the money or property received.)
- Do you have any property that needs to be divided between you and a former spouse?
- Tax returns, mortgages, car titles, car and house insurance, verification of your income, and any other relevant documents may also be assessed at any point during the hearing.
At the end is when Trustee will mention that he might hold the case open for tax returns, to appraise some other property, or for the US Trustee to look the case, but there usually will not be any further questions for you on those points.