By: Marshall G. Reissman Bankruptcy Attorney in St. Petersburg, Florida at The Reissman Law Group, P.A.
Many clients want to know what happens at the Meeting of Creditors. Clients find this situation to be very stressful, basically because the client has no idea what the trustee will ask, what the meeting will be like, or how long the meeting will last. I will describe a basic Meeting of Creditors and then post questions directly from the Chapter 7 Trustee Handbook issued by the United States Department of Justice, which oversees the U.S. Trustee program.
A typical Meeting of Creditors will generally last around 10 minutes. The trustee will inquire about the debtor’s assets, income and expenses. The meeting, at least in Tampa, are held in one of three large rooms. The trustee will call debtors up individually, place them under oath, and record their statements. The trustee will ask questions about the information contained in the bankruptcy petition the debtor filed. A debtor should be aware that if there are any irregularities in the petition, the meeting can take much longer. If the trustee does not believe a debtor is being forthright, the trustee may have the debtor return for further inquiry. However, this is usually the exception, not the rule.
I am listing questions directly from the Handbook for Chapter 7 Trustees published by the U.S. Department of Justice, Executive Office for United States Trustees. While these questions are expansive, they are not meant to be exhaustive. The questions are provided for informational purposes only and to provide prospective debtors and debtors who have not attended a meeting of creditors an idea of what the Trustee might ask.
1. State your name and current address for the record.
2. Please provide your picture ID and social security number card for review.
a. 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.”
b. 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
c. 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.
d. If the debtor did not bring proof of identity and social security number, the trustee
shall determine why.
3. 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?
4. 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?
5. Are all of your assets identified on the schedules? Have you listed all of your creditors
on the schedules?
6. 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.)
7. What is the address of your current employer?
8. Is the copy of the tax return you provided a true copy of the most recent tax return you
9. 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.
10. Have you read the Bankruptcy Information Sheet provided by the United States
SAMPLE GENERAL QUESTIONS
(To be asked when deemed appropriate.)
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
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?
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
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.
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
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?
In cases where debtors are engaged in business, the following questions should be considered:
1. Who was responsible for maintaining financial records?
2. Which of the following records were maintained?
a. Cash receipts journal
b. Cash disbursements journal
c. General journal
d. Accounts receivable ledger
e. Accounts payable ledger
f. Payroll ledger
g. Fixed asset ledger
h. Inventory ledger
i. General ledger
j. Balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statements
3. Where are each of the foregoing records now located?
4. Who was responsible for preparing financial statements?
5. How often were financial statements prepared?
6. For what periods are financial statements available?
7. Where are such financial statements now located?
8. Was the business on a calendar year or a fiscal year?
9. Were federal income tax returns filed on a timely basis? When was the last return
10. Do you have copies of the federal income tax returns? Who does have the copies?
11. What outside accountants were employed within the last three years?
12. Do you have copies of the reports of such accountants? Who does have copies?
13. What bank accounts were maintained within the last three years?
14. Where are the bank statements and canceled checks now located?
15. What insurance policies were in effect within the last year? What kind, and why?
16. From whom can copies of such insurance policies be obtained?
17. If the business is incorporated, where are the corporate minutes?
18. Is the debtor owed any outstanding accounts receivable? From whom? Are they
19. Is there any inventory, property, or equipment remaining?