What Are 521 Documents in Bankruptcy?

Learn about the information you'll send to 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, thebankruptcy trustee—the official appointed to oversee your case—will verify your identification, review your bankruptcy paperwork, and ask you questions about your case. Creditors can attend and ask questions, too, but rarely do.

(Learn more about the 341 meeting of creditors by visiting our creditor meeting topic page.)

Before the meeting, you're required to send the trustee certain documents called "521 documents." These items will help the trustee review your bankruptcy filing. Here's a list of what you'll need to forward to the trustee:

  • 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're obligated to comply with reasonable requests. (If the trustee asks for documents that you're not comfortable providing, you should seek out the advice of an attorney.)

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, so you'll want to contact the trustee to find out where (and how) to forward the documents. Some trustees prefer the traditional mail route. However, 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 cover up any Social Security and bank account numbers, as well as the names of minor children.

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