The role of the trustee in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case is to verify the accuracy of the bankruptcy petition, ensure that the Bankruptcy Code and Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure are being followed, and to locate funds for the bankruptcy estate. In pursuing these goals a trustee will review the documents filed in the case and question the debtor at their meeting of creditors. Questions asked at the meeting vary depending on the facts of each individual case. The following list include examples of questions the trustee may ask at the 341 meeting:
- Why was it necessary for you to file this bankruptcy case?
- Have you ever filed bankruptcy before?
- Did you provide all of the documents used to prepared your petition, schedules, and statement of financial affairs, and other documents?
- Did you review your petition, schedules, and statements with an attorney? Did you sign these documents?
- Are they true and correct? Would you like to make any changes or corrections at this time?
- Have you lived in the state of Texas during the last two years?
- Have you listed all of your assets in your schedules? Have you listed everyone you owe money to in your schedules?
- Do you have the right to sue someone for money damages? Does anyone owe you money?
- Have you sold, given away, or otherwise disposed of any property during the last two years?
- Does your schedule I list all sources of income you receive?
- Do you have any reason to believe you will become entitled to a financial windfall within the next six months?
Debtors should answer the questions clearly and try to stay on topic. The purpose of most of these questions is to find out if there are any assets that can be seized by the Chapter 7 trustee, liquidated, and then the proceeds paid to the creditors. The questioning usually lasts between five and ten minutes. Creditors are given the opportunity to question the debtor as well but this rarely happens.