The Trustee basically goes over the petition to make sure that what is in your petition is the correct information. He or she may also ask what caused the need for filing bankruptcy, but it's not very personal, other than as to your finances.
If you get there early you can watch someone else's 341 meeting before yours begins. That will give you an idea of what the Trustee will ask. The most important thing is that you have honestly and accurately provided the information requested and that you satisfy the requirements for a Chapter 7 discharge. The meetings do not tend to last very long, though the more complicated your filing the longer it will likely take.
If you don't have an attorney I urge you to get to retain one of us here on Avvo. A Chapter 7 is a simple thing of done correctly by an experienced attorney but can be a disaster if you don't completely understand the process or requirements.
I agree completely with Attorney Deluca. The trustee, generally speaking, will review all schedules filed by you, as to their accuracy. The trustee will also inquire as to whether you have any pending claims, such as personal injury claims or any other law suits, which may result in monies being paid to you. Since we are right around tax refund time, the trustee may also inquire as to refunds. However, without knowing your particular situation - owner of real estate, non-exempt assets, business assets, etc., it is impossible for any attorney to guess at what the trustee could explore on your particular schedules.
The questions will all be financial in nature. Typical questions include "did you review the bankruptcy before signing it?" "have you listed all of your assets and debts?" "has anything changed since your bankruptcy was filed?" and "are you expecting an inheritance?" If you are nervous, you can attend another person's 341 hearing - you can get a copy of the calendar for upcoming hearings off the court's website. Here is my recent legal guide on what to expect from the meeting of creditors: http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/bankruptcy...
These will vary upon your jurisdiction but generally the Trustee will ask for a picture identification and something with the Debtor’s social security number on it. The Debtor needs to bring those things with them to the meeting. The Trustee will typically ask the Debtor whether they rent or own where they live. If the Debtor owns their real estate, the Trustee will ask how the debtor came up with the value. The Trustee will typically ask the Debtor if they paid any one Creditor more than $600.00 within the 90days before bankruptcy. The Trustee will typically ask the Debtor if they transferred any assets to anybody within the last 4 years. The Trustee will typically ask the Debtor if they gave any money or property to a family member within the one year before bankruptcy. The Trustee will typically ask the Debtor if they have any business interests. The Trustee will typically ask the Debtor if they have any claims against anyone. The Trustee will typically ask the Debtor if they are the settler or beneficiary of any trust. The Trustee will typically ask the Debtor whether they took any cash advances off of their credit cards within the one (1) year before the bankruptcy. The Trustee can ask anything else they want as well if it pertains to the Debtor’s financial situation.
The job of the trustee at the 341 meeting is to see if there are any assets he can get (after exemptions) to get some money to the creditors. In most cases there are no assets for the Trustee to administer and he will file a "No Asset" report. I guess the answer to your question about whether the questions are "personal" it depends what your definition of "personal" is. The trustee wants to know the market of your house and how much you owe on it. He wants to know the value of your car. The Trustee will ask if you have any claims against anyone where you can collect money, such as a personal injury lawsuit. He will ask if you expect to receive an inheritance soon. He will ask if you own anything of value. Most Trustees in my district don't ask why you are filing bankruptcy but a few do.
In Rhode Island, typically: 1) the Trustee has budgeted 7 minutes for your meeting; 2) the questions are not very personal other than 'how did you get into debt' and/or 'why did you file bankruptcy'; 3) you should not be nervous if you completed the bankruptcy paperwork completely and truthfully. (If you did not, you should get a criminal lawyer.) The link below will bring you to a handout I give my bankruptcy clients. The handout includes the questions the Trustees are trained to ask.
First, most meetings are 1-2 minutes long in Washington. The trustee everywhere in the US only receives $60 in 99% of the cases because they are called "no asset" cases as everything most persons own they keep and do not lose. Thus, you only really care about 2 things: can you keep all your assets and can you discharge all your debts! Everything else by now is really a procedure other than your options on secured assets. So just tell the truth and do not worry about the 341 meeting at this time as there is nothing you can do but answer the questions. Before the meeting, if you believe any answers you filed are a mistake, you can also file amendments to correct those mistakes! Good luck. In our state they ask, your name, address, if you signed the schedules, did you review them before signing, do you owe child support, was the tax return an accurate copy, and did you make any other mistakes. Some trustees, but not all, will ask "have there been any changes since you filed?". Good luck. and Make sure you took that 2nd class!
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