An individual chapter 7 debtor is required to appear and respond to questioning at a meeting of creditors convened under section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code. In most consumer chapter 7 cases, the so-called “341 meeting” is the debtor’s only appearance at any kind of hearing. At the meeting, creditors may, and the chapter 7 trustee shall, examine the debtor about his or her financial affairs. The Bankruptcy Code and Bankruptcy Rules set forth a number of documents that must be produced at, or before, the 341 meeting. This article briefly outlines the documents a consumer debtor should bring to ensure that the 341 meeting goes off without a hitch.
What to Bring
- Picture ID issued by a governmental unit or other personal identifying information establishing the debtor’s identity.
- Evidence of a social security number, or a written statement that such documentation does not exist.
- Evidence of current income such as the most recent payment advice for the period from and after the 60 days before the petition date.
- Statements of the debtor’s depository and investment accounts for the time period that includes the petition date:
- Money Market
- Mutual funds
- Brokerage accounts.
- If required by the means test provisions, documentation of monthly expenses.
- Tax return. At least 7 days before the first date set for the 341 meeting, the debtor must provide to the trustee a copy of the debtor’s federal income tax return for the most recent tax year ending immediately before the commencement of the case and for which a return was filed, including any attachments, or a transcript of the tax return, or provide a written statement that the documentation does not exist.
Individual debtors may approach the 341 meeting with some apprehension. Ensuring that you’ve brought the required documentation may go a long way to reducing your unease.