When you file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy a Chapter 7 Trustee is assigned to ensure that you comply with your duties and that you are eligible to file and receive a discharge in Chapter 7.
Your duty is to make sure you file a complete set of documents “petition” and provide true and accurate information. Your signature is a statement that you personally reviewed your petition information and believe the information is true and accurate. At the Creditors Meeting the Trustee will ask you to confirm you reviewed the information and believed it was and still is true and accurate.
Your duty is to appear and testify at the Creditors Meeting and to provide an original copy of your social security card and current picture ID, such as a current state driver’s license or identification card to prove you are the person in your petition. Plan ahead, locate your original social security card now; it takes approximately 30 days for a replacement. For more information go to https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/replacement-card.html
Your duty is to file your tax returns and provide a copy of the most recently filed federal and state tax return to your Chapter 7 Trustee before your Creditors Meeting. If you do not have a copy of your return you can request a free copy of your transcript from the state and federal government and the Trustee will accept this in lieu of the tax return. For federal returns go to www.irs.gov and for state returns go to www.ftb.ca.gov
Your duty is to complete the credit counseling course before your case is filed. We register you when you are ready to timely take the 1.5 hour online course. Completing the course is a two step process; first, complete the online course; second, call the credit counseling agency counselor at the phone number provided in the instructions. Complete the call and you complete the course. Your Trustee will ask the Court to dismiss your case if you fail to complete the course. To prevent this harsh result, we pay for your course, receive notice of your course progress and print your petition for signing when we receive notice you have completed the course.
Your duty is to file a complete petition, with all of the necessary documents, in a timely manner. An ‘incomplete petition’ filing is only allowed when there is a legitimate ‘emergency’.
You have a duty to notify all of your creditors that you filed bankruptcy. When you discover a forgotten or newly discovered creditor, after your bankruptcy is filed, you must amend your schedules to include these creditors. There is a small fee.
You must personally appear at the Creditors Meeting. The Court controls your Creditors Meeting date and time. You may safely estimate the meeting will occur 30 days or more after the day your petition is filed. If a legitimate emergency happens, your Creditors Meeting can be continued, once. If you fail to appear at the continued Creditors Meeting you will give the Trustee a reason to ask the Court to dismiss your case. You will not receive a discharge until you have been examined at the Creditors Meeting. If you need a Language Interpreter, a free telephone interpreter is provided at the Creditors Meeting or you may bring your own interpreter. The U.S. Trustee’s office will make reasonable accommodations for you to testify when you have a physical disability to hear or similar disability.
At the Creditors Meeting the Chapter 7 Trustee will verify, on the record, that you received, read and understand the information in the U.S. Trustee’s § 341(d) information sheet, verify your income, determine the existence of your assets, the value of your secured property, examine the details of personal and real property transfers, the amount and type of exemptions you claimed on your property, the information in any prior bankruptcy filings and other matters related to your case.
Angry creditors like to contact the Chapter 7 Trustee and tell the Trustee you are hiding assets or are untruthful. They are hoping the Trustee will examine the information in your petition very carefully and question you very thoroughly. You may be required to provide more and different documents above what the Trustee normally requires and if you fail to provide the information you may not receive a discharge. Please let us know if you have Angry Creditors when you retain our services.
If you believe you will need to invoke the Fifth Amendment please let us know in advance. A word of caution, you may not make a blanket assertion of the privilege, you must refuse to answer each and every question the Trustee asks. At the conclusion of your meeting the Trustee will information the U.S. Trustee’s Office and, if appropriate, advise the U.S. Attorney you are asserting the privilege. The Authority to grant your request is with the district court at the request of the United States Attorney.
You may obtain a copy of the transcript of your Creditors Meeting by requesting a copy from the U.S. Trustee’s Office, usually within a day to two years after the hearing. If you are interested in obtaining a copy please let us know.
We provide you with a copy of the script of the minimum questions the Trustee is required to ask you at the Creditors Meeting. Please review the questions before the Creditors Meeting and write your answers to the questions on the page. If there are any questions you do not understand, call our office. We believe you should be prepared for your Creditors Meeting and understand this is a stressful event.