Shortly after I file the Chapter 7 petition I will be given the assignment of the trustee and the hearing date for the 341(a) hearing. I immediately send out a package to my clients with a copy of the petition that was filed, a letter that lists the date and time of the hearing, and directions to the hearing site. I go over the questions that the client will be expected to answer, and I tell the client to bring two forms of ID, including one with their social security number and one with a picture. I also ask than to bring the code sheet from the second credit counseling course. The client does not have to bring any additional paperwork; I have already sent the papers in advance to the trustee, including pay stubs, tax returns, and real estate information, if applicable.
At the 341(a) hearing, the client will meet with the Chapter 7 trustee assigned to their case. I explain that this person is not a judge, but a trustee—usually an attorney assigned by the US trustee's office to monitor the case. The trustee will ask some questions and I am available for questions from my client. I will show the client a copy of their signature and the trustee will confirm that it is theirs. The trustee will also ask if everything in the petition is truthful and accurate to the best of their knowledge and if they wish to make any additions or changes. I advise my clients to wait for the trustee to ask the questions and to answer with a simple yes or no, if possible. The trustee will always ask the client if they have ever filed bankruptcy before and if they are making any alimony or child support payments. They will also ask if they are suing anyone or expect to inherit any money and what caused them to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protections. In all cases, I advise my clients to answer the trustee's questions honestly and politely.