Can I contact the bankruptcy trustee before the 341 hearing?

Usually, the bankruptcy trustee will not talk to you before the creditors meeting. But there are situations when you should contact your trustee right away.

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Contact information for the bankruptcy trustee is usually provided on the notice of the trustee’s appointment or the notice of the 341 meeting. This is provided so that you can contact the trustee’s office if you need to. However, it is unlikely that the trustee will be able to provide you with any information prior to the 341 meeting (also called the creditors meeting). It is more likely that you will speak with the trustee’s staff.

(To learn about the creditors meeting, see The Bankruptcy Case: Process & Procedures.)

No Legal Advice

The trustee and the trustee's staff are not permitted to provide you with legal advice. Since bankruptcy is a legal proceeding, unless your questions are purely procedural or relate to the documents to be turned over prior to the creditors meeting, you may not be able to get the answers to the questions you are calling about.

Check Out the Trustee's Website

Many Chapter 7 trustees and virtually all of the Chapter 13 trustees have websites which can provide answers to commonly asked questions and explain the trustee’s procedures. If your trustee has a website, you might want to look at that before you call the trustee’s office.

When Assets Need Special Care: Contact Your Trustee

There are times when the trustee will need to hear from you. If you have assets which will be turned over to the trustee and these assets need special care or disposition prior to the creditors meeting, you should contact your trustee. For example, you probably should contact your trustee if:

  • you are turning over a business and you need to supply the trustee with the keys, the name of the landlord, and the alarm codes, or
  • your business is a restaurant with food in the freezer, a pet shop with pets to be fed and cared for, or a seafood wholesaler that hasn’t paid its power bill.

In situations such as these, contact the trustee’s office immediately after your bankruptcy filing to make arrangements for special care of the assets.

If the court clerk cannot immediately tell you who your trustee is, you can contact the Office of the United States Trustee in your district and explain the situation to them so that they can make sure a trustee is appointed and is made aware of the situation.

To learn about the role of the bankruptcy trustee in your case, see our Bankruptcy Trustee area. For more on how bankruptcy works, see Nolo's section on Bankruptcy.

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