The Law Office of Marvin Wolf | Marvin Wolf
Answer: Generally, no, with one exception. Trustees usually ask the same questions of every debtor at a 341(a) meeting of creditors. An attorney can even give you the complete list of general questions that will be asked in advance of the meeting and go over your answers with you. Some trustees investigate further or change the specificity of the questions, or based on some answers will ask their own followup questions. If they don't like the answers, they can schedule a second meeting. If a trustee is asking a more complex question - there may be a more technical issue involved - but the issue will be there whether or not the attorney is present. An attorney can be in a better position to answer such questions if they come up - and may even talk to the trustee well before the 341(a) meeting about the issue to try to resolve any problems early on. The one exception: Many trustees who see an attorney there will often take those cases before taking cases from self-represented people - it's not exactly favoritism - cases with attorneys are usually better prepared so the meetings can go faster - the trustee wants to get those out of the way first to leave more time for the other cases which could take longer. Also, trustees know lawyers need to get back to their offices, or get to other 341(a) meetings or get to court so they show some professional courtesy. Keep in mind that not every trustee acts this way and not for every lawyer. Some trustees just call the names alphabetically, lawyer or not, or have some other predetermined manner in which they call cases, and will not budge. Trustees, like judges, have distinct personalities. A skilled attorney will have appeared before that trustee before - usually many times - and can usually predict in advance what issues will come up and what to expect from that particular trustee.
Answer Applies to: New Jersey
Law Office of Lynnmarie A. Johnson | Lynnmarie Johnson
NO, actually the questions are usually easier when you have an attorney. The trustee knows that your attorney has already gone over the information with you and knows where and how you got the information to file. When you don't have an attorney, they are very suspicious that your schedules are wrong and/or that someone fraudulently helped you prepare them.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Apple Law Firm PLLC | David Goldman
Generally you will be asked the same questions. A bankruptcy attorney can help prepare you for the meeting so it goes smoothly and you understand what is being asked of you. If you have never been to one, you might consider watching a few so that you know what to expect. (If you plan on going by yourself)
Answer Applies to: Florida
Greifendorff Law Office | John Greifendorff
Chapter 13 cases are all about preparation. An attorney that has prepared the case properly makes the 341 Meeting much easier, even if there are issues that concern the trustee. You are well advised to have experienced counsel.
Answer Applies to: California
Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis | Eric Lewis
There is no doubt that the Bankruptcy Trustee would have to be more dilligent and the inquiry more comprehensive in a situation in which an attorney is not utilized because the Trustee needs to be satisified that the debtor fully understands the process and has fully complied with all requirements.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Law Office of Asaph Abrams | Asaph Abrams
A trustee trusts that a trustworthy attorney has done due diligence in examining the debtor's records; said trustee doesn't know the debtor from Adam. If there are technical questions, the trustee cannot give the pro per debtor on-the-spot legal-advice except to admonish the latter to retain counsel... at which point irreversible complications may have arisen.
Answer Applies to: California
Colorado Legal Solutions | Stephen Harkess
The information the Trustee wants to know from you is (and thus the questions are)no different whether you have an attorney or not. The Trustee's job is to determine if you qualify for a discharge and if you have any property that the Trustee should take to pay some of your creditors. When you proceed without an attorney there is a much higher likelihood that you will be unprepared for the questions and you will end up having your case dismissed.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Law Office of Harry L Styron | Harry L Styron
In my experience the trustees have a script which they follow for everyone. If you happen to have a business, then the examination will be more complex. If yours is a consumer bankruptcy then the examination will rarely take more than 5-10 minutes. If your Petition was prepared by an attorney then he or she is compelled to attend the 341 meeting.
Answer Applies to: California
Benson Law Firm | David Benson
QUESTIONS THE TRUSTEE IS REQUIRED TO ASK YOU AT YOUR BANKRUPTCY HEARING (341(a) MEETING OF CREDITORS) 1. State your name and current address for the record. 2. Please provide your picture ID and Social Security number card for review. 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? (provide trustee with case number and the discharge information to determine discharge eligibility in this case) 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 filed? 9. Do you have a domestic support obligation? To whom? Please provide the claimant's address and telephone number, but do not state it on the record. Are you current on your post-petition domestic support obligations? 10. Have you filed all required tax returns for the past four years? SAMPLE QUESTIONS THE TRUSTEE MAY ASK YOU 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 ofthe 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? 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: PIease explain the detaiI s. If you become a beneficiary of any one'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 ofthe 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 ofthe 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. 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?
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Law Offices of Alexzander C. J. Adams, P.C. | Alexzander Adams
You will be asked the same questions, but you will be eminently more prepared with an attorney, especially if you filed without an attorney. Trustee's greatly appreciate the expertise a knowledgeable attorney brings to the process to make sure this are properly disclosed, amended as needed, and provided in a timely fashion to the court or trustee as needed. For instance, if you do not know how to accurately and completely fill out the statement of financial affairs, you may find that the hearing is very uncomfortable, especially if the trustee finds that there were omissions or things were improperly listed.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Scott Leslie Taylor Attorney at Law | Scott Leslie Taylor
Having an attorny present is helpful if you don't understand the questions the trustee is asking or if the trustee has any questions as to how the bankruptcy papers were filed. The degree of difficulty will not be differant nor will the scope of the question be differant if an attorney is not present.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Law Offices of Michael J. Berger | Michael J. Berger
No. Some of the questions that you will be asked at your 341(a) meeting are routine, such as "Did you read your bankruptcy schedules before you signed them? Did you list all of your assets? Did you list all of your debts? Debtors with attorneys do NOT get asked more difficult or more technical questions because they are represented by an attorney. I say this based on my 29 years of experience as bankruptcy attorney, and the many 341(a) meetings that I have attended over the years.
Answer Applies to: California
Eric J. Benzer, Attorney at Law | Eric Benzer
Absolutely not...but it is imperative that you listen to the questions asked and be absolutely honest and accurate in your dealings with the court. Having said the above, having an attorney advise you vs filing pro bono is very much worth the money...bankruptcy is a very serious matter.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
Usually pro se debtors are asked far more than debtors with lawyers. Where appropriate an attorney may discuss issues with the trustee in advance, and a lawyer also is more likely to submit the unique paperwork that trustee wants (different trustees ask for different things and a good lawyer will know that ). And while a lawyer cannot testify for a debtor, in many cases a lawyer may jump in with something that prevents further questions, or limits them. Typically with a lawyer the questions will be easier, shorter and less technical. You also will have someone that can help you if they do get technical.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
An attorney should be able to complete the petition and schedules and provide the trustee with the required documents to eliminate many of the questions the trustee would ask if not properly prepared. So it is not a question of more technical questions, it is a question of properly preparing for the meeting so the trustee has few questions.
Answer Applies to: California
Law Office of Dennis Jay Sargent Jr, PLLC | Dennis J Sargent Jr.
I would not expect you would be treated any differently. The only caveat is that when you are not represented by an Attorney, the Trustee may ask you more verification questions since your petition was verified by an Attorney. The presence of an Attorney should not make the situation any worse, and may make it go quicker.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina