What Are 521 Documents in Bankruptcy?

Learn about the financial documents you'll send the bankruptcy trustee before the 341 meeting of creditors.

By , Attorney · University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law

After filing for bankruptcy, all filers must attend a hearing called a 341 meeting of creditors. At the meeting, the bankruptcy trustee—the official appointed to oversee your case—will verify your identification, review your bankruptcy paperwork, and ask questions about your case. Creditors can attend and ask questions, too, but rarely do.

Before the meeting, you must send the trustee certain documents called "521 documents." You'll need to forward the following to the trustee or file them with the court depending on where you live:

  • two months of paycheck stubs
  • two months of bank statements, and
  • two years of filed Federal tax returns.

It's common for the trustee to ask for additional documents, and you must comply with reasonable requests. Here are examples of other documents you'll want to be prepared to provide:

  • retirement, pension, and investment account statements
  • profit and loss statements (if you own a business)
  • up-to-date mortgage and vehicle loan billings
  • proof of the value of your vehicle or other property
  • a divorce decree or settlement, and
  • receipts proving that you've incurred claimed expenses.

Most trustees prefer that you send the documents in a particular manner. Although some trustees prefer traditional mail, most will allow you to scan and email them. Others will provide a link to a secure service that you'll use to upload the required information from your computer.

For security purposes, it's important to conceal Social Security and bank account numbers and the names of minor children. Learn about other documents you'll gather when preparing your bankruptcy case.

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