Before you can receive a discharge in Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must be examined under oath by a bankruptcy trustee at a hearing called the meeting of creditors (also called the 341 hearing). Read on to learn more about the types of questions the bankruptcy trustee may ask you at the meeting of creditors.
(To learn more about the meeting of creditors, see Nolo's information on bankruptcy's meeting of creditors (341 hearing).
What Is the Purpose of the Meeting of Creditors?
The meeting of creditors is where the bankruptcy trustee and any interested creditors can ask you questions about your bankruptcy papers and financial affairs while you are under oath. The trustee’s job is to make sure that you are not abusing the bankruptcy system or lying on your bankruptcy petition. (Learn more about what the bankruptcy trustee does in your bankruptcy case.)
In most cases, your meeting of creditors will only last a few minutes. The trustee will ask you a few simple questions to make sure everything in your bankruptcy papers is complete and accurate. However, if your bankruptcy petition does not match your supporting documents (such as tax returns and paystubs), the trustee will question you more extensively on all discrepancies. As a result, consider reviewing all of your bankruptcy paperwork before your hearing.
For more information, see How to Prepare for Your Bankruptcy Meeting of Creditors.
What Will the Trustee Ask About at Your Meeting of Creditors?
In addition to verifying the information in your bankruptcy papers, the trustee will be on the lookout for any other information that can increase recovery for your unsecured creditors.
The trustee can ask you about anything that may affect your bankruptcy. Since your bankruptcy is directly related to your financial situation, most questions will involve your debts, assets, income, and expenses.
To learn more, see What the Bankruptcy Trustee Looks for at the Meeting of Creditors.
Common Bankruptcy Trustee Questions
Each trustee has a different way of questioning debtors. So the kinds of questions you may be asked will depend on your trustee and the facts of your individual case. But the following are some of the most common trustee questions you may encounter at the meeting of creditors (keep in mind that the time periods will vary with each trustee):
- Did you review your bankruptcy petition and schedules before you filed them with the court?
- Is all of the information contained in your bankruptcy papers true and correct to the best of your knowledge?
- Did you disclose all of your assets?
- Did you list all of your creditors?
- Have you filed for bankruptcy before?
- Has anything changed since filing your bankruptcy?
- Are you required to pay any domestic support obligations such as alimony or child support?
- Have you filed all tax returns as they have come due?
- Have you made any payments to creditors exceeding $600 in aggregate in the last year?
- Have you transferred any property or given any security interests in the last two years?
- Have you used any credit cards in the last year?
- How did you calculate the value of your assets?
- Do you own an interest in a business or partnership?
- Are you the beneficiary, trustee, or trustor of a trust?
- When was the last time you refinanced your house?