Just the other day I was driving to my own client’s 341 Trustee meeting in Worcester, Massachusetts and I thought, most people have no clue what documents are needed prior to most trustee meetings. So, here is the short list.
The documents you will need are generally the same whether you are filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. However, specific documentation requirements are something different in most every local jurisdiction. Be sure to check your local rules or contact your attorney in your specific situation. Your attorney can notify the trustee and find out what is needed.
Minimally, and most importantly, your last year’s tax return is required to be delivered to the trustee minimally seven days prior to your 341 meeting. Local rules and trustees vary on what is required prior to the meeting. If you do not provide this to the trustee, prior to your meeting, your case could be dismissed.
Other than this, you will typically need to provide copies of your tax returns or tax transcripts for the last two years during your meeting. I have found, over the years, that it is best if you sign your returns. If you have tax returns that haven’t been filed, you will need to explain why you were not required to file. If you did not have a valid reason for not filing, most trustees, especially in Chapter 13 cases, will require you to file your taxes and provide copies before concluding or approving your case. Again, some trustees may require more tax returns while others may ask only for your most recent one.
If you are an employee, you will need copies of pay stubs (also known as payment advances) for the six-month period prior to the bankruptcy. You will also need your past two years W-2 forms. If you collect Social Security or Social Security Disability Income, you will need your award letter. If you are self-employed, you will probably need to provide a profit and loss statement for the same six-month period as well as business bank statements to verify the amounts on the statement. If you have income from other sources such as rental properties or unemployment, proof of this income is also required.
If you own real estate, a valuation of the property is required. Generally, I recommend my client’s get a broker’s price opinion, or a full appraisal, but this depends upon the situation. In some cases, this is not needed. Mortgage statements showing current loan balances, deeds of trust, and proof of home insurance may also be required.
If you have titled vehicles, such as an automobile, you will be required to provide a recent copy of your vehicle registration. I also recommend you have proof of insurance, and valuation information, such as a KBB (Kelly Blue Book) valuation (you can get this online). If you have a car loan, a recent loan statement showing how much you owe and what your monthly payment is, will be important. For other titled property, such as boats or trucks, recent valuation may also be required.
Retirement Accounts and Other Bank Accounts
Recent bank account statements (checking and savings) and retirement account statements are usually very important to provide to the trustee. Your attorney should have these.
If you have any other special circumstances, like child support or alimony, you will need to provide proof of these expenses. Typically a copy of the judgment, order or agreement will be sufficient
Proof of Identification and Social Security Number
This is very important. When you go to your hearing with the trustee, you will be asked to show proof of identification. So you must have these two things ready for the trustee at the beginning of your meeting. Identification must be valid and include a recent photo. Examples are a current state-issued ID card, a current driver’s license or valid passport. You will also need to show proof of your social security number. These documents are typically your state-issued social security card or employee-issued W-2 form.
That’s it. Now you are ready for your Meeting with the Trustee. If you have any questions or need any help, please give me a call. My direct line is 508-784-1014 (yes, this is the number that goes directly to me, personally). I’ll be happy to set up your first free consultation, absolutely free.
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ABOUT ME: Attorney Kelly is an attorney in good standing, licensed to practice in both the Federal District and State Courts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Her law practice is focused on consumer debt, finance, bankruptcy and District Court matters. Attorney Kelly is experienced in both criminal and civil trial work. On a personal note, Attorney Kelly enjoys writing and other things, like conservation and agriculture.
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