The only required appearance most Tampa and Orlando Bankruptcy Debtors must make in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, is at the 341 meeting of creditors. Many people call it the 341 hearing, but its not a hearing. The 341 hearing is not with a judge and not in a courtroom. There will be other people there who have also filed for bankruptcy. We typically suggest our clients to arrive about 30 minutes prior to their hearing (go earlier if you wish) and you can watch some other 341 meetings to get a feel for what will be asked. You should be VERY FAMILIAR with your bankruptcy petition and schedules. An attorney from our office will also be there with you. Your creditors could appear to ask you questions, but most of the time they don’t, but if they do DON”T sign any agreements with a creditor at the hearing.
The main purpose of the 341 hearing is for the Trustee to ask you questions and to take sworn testimony. In this testimony, you must affirm under oath and penalty of perjury that the information you have relayed to the Trustee via your petition and the statements you will be making at the hearing is complete and truthful.
Here, we list the questions that are listed in the Chapter 7 trustee handbook. Our experience is that the Tampa and Orlando Chapter 7 trustees follow these questions almost verbatim. We also notice that many attorneys do not prepare their clients in advance for these hearings, but we take as much time as necessary to prepare our clients for the questions the Tampa and Orlando bankruptcy court’s Trustees will ask.
A client is typically sworn to tell the truth and then asked the following:
State your name and current address for the record.
Please provide your picture ID and Social Security number card for review.
If the documents are in agreement with the § 341(a) meeting notice, a suggested
statement for the record is:
“I have viewed the original State of ________ drivers license (or
other type of original photo ID) and original Social Security card
(or other original document used for proof) and they match the
name and Social Security number on the § 341(a) meeting notice.”
If the documents are not in agreement with the § 341(a) meeting notice, a
suggested statement for the record is:
“I have viewed the original Social Security card (or other original
document used for proof) and the number does not match the
number on the § 341(a) meeting notice. I have instructed the
debtor (or debtor’s counsel) to submit to the court an amended
verified statement by [date], with notice of the correct number to
all creditors, the United States Trustee, and the trustee; and to file
with the court a redacted copy of the notice, showing only the last
four digits of the Social Security number, and a certificate of
When the documents do not match the petition, the trustee shall attempt to
ascertain why and shall report the matter to the United States Trustee.
If the debtor did not bring proof of identity and Social Security number, the
trustee shall determine why.
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?
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?
Are all of your assets identified on the schedules? Have you listed all of your creditors
on the schedules?
Have you previously filed bankruptcy? (If so, the trustee must obtain the case number
and the discharge information to determine the debtor(s) discharge eligibility.)
What is the address of your current employer?
Is the copy of the tax return you provided a true copy of the most recent tax return you
Do you have a domestic support obligation? To whom? Please provide to me the
claimant’s address and telephone number, but do not state it on the record.
Have you read the Bankruptcy Information Sheet provided by the United States Trustee?
Depending on the circumstances of the case, a Trustee may also ask a client any of the following questions:
1. Do you own or have any interest whatsoever in any real estate?
If owned: When did you purchase the property? How much did the property cost? What
are the mortgages encumbering it? What do you estimate 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?
2. Have you made any transfers of any property or given any property away within the last
one year period (or such longer period as applicable under state law)?
If yes: What did you transfer? To whom was it transferred? What did you receive in
exchange? What did you do with the funds?
Any transfers within this time as a gift or not for substantially similar value may be considered a fraudulent transfer and may be recoverable by the trustee.
3. Does anyone hold property belonging to you?
If yes: Who holds the property and what is it? What is its value?
4. Do you have a claim against anyone or any business?
If there are large medical debts, are the medical bills from injury?
Are you the plaintiff in any lawsuit?
What is the status of each case and who is representing you?
5. Are you entitled to life insurance proceeds or an inheritance as a result of someone’s death?
If yes: Please explain the details.
If you become a beneficiary of anyone’s estate within six months of the date your
bankruptcy petition was filed, the trustee must be advised within ten days through your
counsel of the nature and extent of the property you will receive. FRBP 1007(h)
6. Does anyone owe you money?
If yes: Is the money collectible? Why haven’t you collected it? Who owes the money
and where are they?
7. Have you made any large payments, over $600, to anyone in the past year?
8. Were federal income tax returns filed on a timely basis? When was the last return filed?
Do you have copies of the federal income tax returns? At the time of the filing of your
petition, were you entitled to a tax refund from the federal or state government ?
If yes: Inquire as to amounts.
9. Do you have a bank account, either checking or savings?
If yes: In what banks and what were the balances as of the date you filed your petition?
10. When you filed your petition, did you have:
a. any cash on hand?
b. any U.S. Savings Bonds?
c. any other stocks or bonds?
d. any Certificates of Deposit?
e. a safe deposit box in your name or in anyone else’s name?
11. Do you own an automobile?
If yes: What is the year, make, and value? Do you owe any money on it? Is it insured?
12. Are you the owner of any cash value life insurance policies?
If yes: State the name of the company, face amount of the policy, cash surrender value, if
any, and the beneficiaries.
13. Do you have any winning lottery tickets?
14. Do you anticipate that you might realize any property, cash or otherwise, as a result of a
divorce or separation proceeding?
15. Regarding any consumer debts secured by your property, have you filed the required
Statement of Intention with respect to the exemption, retention, or surrender of that
secured property? Please provide a copy of the statement to the trustee. Have you
performed that intention?
16. Have you been engaged in any business during the last six years?
If yes: Where and when? What happened to the assets of the business?
Finally, in cases involving debts from a Florida business, the bankruptcy trustee may ask these question:
Who was responsible for maintaining financial records?
Which of the following records were maintained?
Cash receipts journal
Cash disbursements journal
Accounts receivable ledger
Accounts payable ledger
Fixed asset ledger
Balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statements
Where are each of the foregoing records now located?
Who was responsible for preparing financial statements?
How often were financial statements prepared?
For what periods are financial statements available?
Where are such financial statements now located?
Was the business on a calendar year or a fiscal year?
Were federal income tax returns filed on a timely basis? When was the last return filed?
Do you have copies of the federal income tax returns? Who does have the copies?
What outside accountants were employed within the last three years?
Do you have copies of the reports of such accountants? Who does have copies?
What bank accounts were maintained within the last three years?
Where are the bank statements and canceled checks now located?
What insurance policies were in effect within the last year? What kind, and why?
From whom can copies of such insurance policies be obtained?
If the business is incorporated, where are the corporate minutes?
Is the debtor owed any outstanding accounts receivable? From whom? Are they
Is there any inventory, property, or equipment remaining?
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