What Will the Trustee Ask You?
In this article, we will focus on chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcy cases only. The 341 meeting of creditors is required for every bankruptcy case that is filed. Why? For the most part it is there to verify that you are who you say you are (to verify your identity) as well as your social security number, to clear up any issues with the information you provided, to provide the trustee the opportunity to verify the authenticity of your petition, and to give creditors the opportunity to appear and examine you under oath.
Although it is called the Section 341 meeting of creditors, it is rare in chapter 13 and chapter 7 cases for creditors to appear. The meetings are generally routine, and only last a few minutes. So what is it generally that the trustee will ask you? The trustee's have a US Trustee handbook that they are given with guidelines for questions they are to ask. A copy of that handbook can be found here: https://www.justice.gov/ust/private-trustee-handbooks-reference-materials/chapter-7-handbooks-reference-materials. The handbook provides for the guidelines of the trustee and asserts the required questions the trustee is to ask each debtor. The list of required questions can be found here: https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/ust/legacy/2012/11/29/Section_341%28a%29_Meeting_Questions.pdf.
If you review these materials you will see that the trustee has a great deal of responsibility to verify that everything you've put on your petition, schedules and statements is true and accurate. It is also important to understand that while this is a routine meeting, you are under oath at this meeting. So any intentional and material deviation from the truth could be treated as perjury. The bottom line is that while the trustee meeting is pretty straight forward and there really aren't that many questions that you will be asked, you don't have anything to worry about as long as you are telling the truth. Mistakes to forms, schedules, etc., can all be fixed later, but any intentional misstatement cannot. One final tip; NEVER FORGET YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY CARD or driver's license. If you do, your case could be dismissed (rare) or you will have to reschedule and come back for another meeting (always).
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