Written by Summerville Bankruptcy Lawyer, Russell A. DeMott
Your bankruptcy hearing, also called a First Meeting of Creditors or the 341 hearing will be held by your Trustee approximately 4-6 weeks after your case is filed. All of the Trustees we deal with here in the Charleston division of the District of South Carolina are professional, courteous people. They will not treat you rudely or otherwise act offensively. Their job is to ask necessary question about your assets, debts, income, and expenses and to verify that you have complied with the requirements of the Bankruptcy Code.
Be sure to bring your driver’s license or other government-issued photo identification with you, along with your social security card. The Trustee cann0t conduct your hearing without verifying your identify and social security number.
You will be asked questions based on what the Trustee sees as significant in your file. At the least, you will be asked:
1. Did you sign the petition, schedules, statements and related documents and is the signature your own? Did you read the petition, schedules, statements, and related documents before you signed them?
2. Are you personally familiar with the information contained in the petition, schedules, statements and related documents? To the best of your knowledge, is the information contained in the petition, schedules, statements, and related documents true and correct? Are there any errors or omissions to bring to my attention at this time?
3. Are all of your assets identified on the schedules? Have you listed all of your creditors on the schedules?
4. Have you previously filed bankruptcy? (If so, the trustee must obtain the prior case number, which should be listed on your bankruptcy petition).
5. What is the address of your current employer?
6. Is the copy of the tax return you provided a true copy of the most recent tax return you filed?
7. Do you have a domestic support obligation? (child support or alimony). To Whom? If you do have a support obligation, this should have been listed on your schedules. The Trustee must also obtain the phone number of the domestic support obligation payee (the person who gets the money).
8. Have you read the Bankruptcy Information Sheet provided by the United States Trustee?
9. Have you made any transfers of any property or given any property worth more than $5,000 in the last six years. If yes: What did you transfer? To whom was it transferred? What did you receive in exchange? What did you do with the funds
You may also be asked:
1. Do you own or have any interest whatsoever in any real estate?
2. If so, when did you purchase the property? How much did the property cost? What are the mortgages encumbering it? What do you estimate to be the present value of the property to be? Is that the whole value or your share? How did you arrive at that value? If renting: Have you ever owned the property in which you live and/or is its owner in any way related to you?
3. Does anyone hold property belonging to you? If yes, who holds the property and what is it? What is its value?
There are other questions that may be asked, but any additional questions depend on the facts of your case. Don’t be nervous. The Trustee won’t bite! I recommend you arrive at your bankruptcy hearing an hour early so you can watch the Trustee ask questions to other debtors. Doing this will calm you down and help you prepare for your hearing. You can also ask your attorney about questions the Trustee asked another person so you fully understand what information the Trustee seeks from you.