Communications with the Trustee.  The Trustee may be contacted during regular business hours.  Telephone messages usually are returned within the next business day if not sooner; however, please call back if the call is not returned.  We receive many calls in one day and occasionally one may slip by.  However, please note that if you are a pro se debtor, the trustee and his staff are not allowed to give you legal advice.  Contact a competent bankruptcy practitioner instead.  As set forth herein, attorney also refers to debtors who are pro se since they are representing themselves as their own attorney and are held out to the same standard as attorneys competent to practice in bankruptcy court.

    Venue.    Be sure to check that venue is proper in the district.  Cases intentionally filed in the wrong district have subjected the attorney to sanctions for such conduct.  See In re: Blagg.

   Attendance at 341 Meeting of Creditors.  All debtors and their attorneys are required to attend the 341 meeting of creditors. Under certain circumstances, the debtor may comply with this requirement by submitting interrogatories or by telephone (see below). In rare circumstances, another attorney may stand it for the attorney who signed the petition, however, the Trustee must give his approval before the 341 meeting.  Basically, if it is a complicated case, or if the debtor's median income is higher than the state average, or if the U.S. Trustee has any questions, that permission will be denied.

 If you wish to determine what other attorneys may be on the docket who may be able to stand in for you, if permission is granted, contact the trustee's office, or check the  341 docket.

    Telephonic 341 Meeting of Creditors.  In very limited situations, a telephonic 341 meeting of creditors may be held, such as when because of incarceration or health reasons the debtor may not be able to personally attend the meeting.  To arrange a telephonic meeting, the trustee must approve the reason to excuse the debtor from attending, and a notice of continuance must be filed by the attorney for the debtor as set forth above, changing the date, time and location.  Debtors' counsel must arrange for the telephone conference call and be present or on the line during the meeting.  An affidavit of the debtor's identity must also be notarized and sent to the trustee.

    Power of Attorney.    A power of attorney may be used in limited cases if approved the trustee.  For example, if the debtor spouse is serving in the military, the joint debtor may provide a durable, general or limited power of attorney.  It must be correctly notarized, and filed with the clerk, with a copy given to the trustee.  The spouse appearing must be able to answer and be familiar with any information that relates to the non appearing spouse.  An affidavit of the debtor's identity must also be notarized and sent to the trustee.

    Interrogatories.  In cases where the debtor cannot attend the 341 meeting either in person, telephonically, or with a power of attorney, interrogatories may be answered if the trustee consents (only in simple no asset cases where there are no issues to be resolved).  These interrogatories in WordPerfect format can be found HERE.  Be sure to first obtain consent from the trustee.  The debtor also must provide an Affidavit of Identify, notarized by a notary public, attesting to their identity.  A copy of this affidavit is located at the end of  the interrogatories.

  Continuances.    Continuance of the 341 meeting is highly discouraged.  This is because the time to object to exemption expires thirty days after the date first set for the meeting.  If a conflict makes it impossible for the original attorney to attend, counsel is advised to make arrangements to have other counsel attend on his behalf rather than continue the case.  If the case must be continued, then you should contact the trustee's office immediately for a new date and time (generally approximately two weeks from the original date), prepare a Notice of Continuance with a signature line showing the trustee's approval and within five days from the date the continuance is requested fax it to the trustee at 918 687-1348.  The trustee will confirm the dates are correct, and fax it back. Immediately file the notice with the court and mail to all parties on the official mailing matrix.  Then, mail or fax a filed stamped copy of the notice and certificate of mailing to the trustee. At that point, the case will be added to the docket on the date it was continued.  NOTE: IF THE TRUSTEE DOES NOT RECEIVE THE FILE STAMPED COPY, IT WILL NOT BE PLACED ON THE DOCKET.    NOTICES MUST BE MAILED IN SUFFICIENT TIME TO GIVE CREDITORS AN OPPORTUNITY TO ATTEND OR THE MEETING WILL NOT BE HELD.  A sample Notice of Continuance form in pdf format can be found HERE.  A form in Wordperfect 9.0 format can be downloaded from HERE.  The trustee MUST sign the notice or the clerk will strike it for failing to comply with the local bankruptcy rules.

    Amendments.    The trustee may point out deficiencies in the petition or schedules that require amendments.  If these amendments are not filed within ten days of the 341 meeting of creditors, a motion to compel the debtors to do so may be filed, or a motion to dismiss.  In addition, a motion to disgorge attorneys fees may be filed to require the attorney to refund part or all of the attorney fees for such non compliance may be filed by the trustee or the United States Trustee.

    Fee caps for basic consumer cases.  If you charge more than $1250.00 (exclusive of filing fees) for a simple consumer Chapter 7 case, you may wish to file an application with the court to approve these fees, as fees greater than this have been subject to disgorgement in the past.  Business cases or complicated cases are excepted from this rule.  Excessive fees may be subject to a fee disgorgement motion being filed.  See this Order for more information.

    Tax Returns.    The debtor must file both state and federal tax returns for the current year and any past year such returns are due.  Any refunds are subject to administration by the trustee.  Generally, the rule is that refunds less than $2000 (both federal and state combined), or if the refund would result in less than a five percent distribution to creditors are abandoned.  Note that if there are other assets, then the trustee will not abandon the fee no matter what the amount.  Earned Income Credit is exempt and will be refunded back to the debtor, usually within 30 days of receipt (an order to return the exempt portion must first be obtained by the trustee).  There is no hardship basis to keep the refund.  Please don't ask.

    Debtor Identification.    The debtors are required to bring with them two forms of identification.  Please have them ready to be shown to the trustee when the case is called.  ORIGINAL ARE REQUIRED! A government issued photo id (driver's license will suffice) and their social security card must be presented at the 341 meeting.  If these are not available, other forms of identification may be used, such as W2 statement, or other government issued identification which accurately shows the debtors social security number.

    Correcting Errors in Social Security Numbers.    If the debtors' social security number is incorrect on the Petition, it must be corrected according to the local procedure found here. You should:

1.         If the Petition was electronically filed by an Attorney and the Social Security number is incorrect, the Attorney shall Electronically file in the CM/ECF System the Debtor's ORIGINAL (Form 21) Statement of Social Security Number with the correct Social Security Number. (The Debtor(s) must sign and date Form 21) and the Attorney should keep the original form for a period of one year after the case is closed.

2.         The Court will make the correction to the social security number in the Electronic Case Filing System to match the Debtor's Form 21 that was filed with the Court.

3.         The Attorney shall MAIL a copy of Form 21 to all creditors.

4.         The Attorney shall FILE a certificate of mailing STATING that Form 21 was mailed to all creditors and state what date it was mailed. Form 21 should not be attached to the certificate of mailing. 

5.         An Amended Petition that lists the Debtor's last four digits of the Social Security Number is necessary only when the correction is being made to one of the last four listed digits. If the correction was made to any other digits of the Debtor's Social Security Number, an Amended Petition does not need to be filed with the Court.

6.         The Debtor's entire Social Security Number should never be included on any documents filed with the Court.

    Documents required to be provided prior to the 341 Meeting of Creditors by Debtors.  It is required, at the very least, that the debtors provide the last year's tax return at least 7 days prior to the 341 meeting date, or the Court, "shall dismiss the case".  In addition, the following documents may be requested and should be delivered to the trustee's office at least seven days by email in pdf format following the instructions here before the 341 meeting of creditors (see here for instructions on how to deliver these to the trustee). If you have an attorney DO NOT send the documents directly to the trustee, but rather, contact your attorney if you have any questions. You attorney should deliver these documents on your behalf.

1.    Tax returns for the previous two years.
2.    Bank statements for the previous 3 months prior to the Bankruptcy Petition date on any account that the debtors have a signatory authority.
3.    Copies of  vehicle titles, including  autos, motorcycles, boats, off - road vehicles, or other vehicles, together with copies of the sales,  installment contract, note, security agreement, and any other contract showing the date of purchase.
4.    Copies of any deeds, mortgages or other types of titles of ownership of any real estate, including contract for deeds.
5.    Copies of any contracts which the debtor entered into with third parties, including contract for deeds.
6.    If a business is involved, a list of all inventory or other business assets.

    Trustee's Standard Questions.    The trustee will ask the following questions in all cases:

1.    Please state your name, social security number and resident address.
2.    Have you received and read a copy of the Bankruptcy Information Sheet? Do you understand the consequences of filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, the different types of bankruptcy relief available to you and the consequences of reaffirming any debt?
3.    Did you sign the Bankruptcy Petition, Schedules and related documents you filed with the Court?
4.    Did you read these documents before you signed them?
5.    Are you personally familiar with the information contained in these documents?
6.    Is that information true and correct to your best knowledge and belief?
7.    Are the any changes, omissions, or any other errors you need to point out to me or the Court concerning that information?
8.    Are all of your assets and debts listed correctly and completely on your schedules?
9.    Have you ever filed bankruptcy before, if so, when?

    The trustee will then ask other questions that may arise from his review of the schedules.  Thereafter, any creditors present may inquire of the debtors, and then the meeting is concluded, and the trustee files a report filed with the court.