341 Requirement: Providing Paystubs to The Trustee
Watch for the “Filing Letter”
Immediately after filing your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, I’ll send you what we call a “Filing Letter” Read it carefully as there are important requirements and dates that must be adhered to. Generally, we do not send out reminders after that letter, so store it safely, and use it as a guide for the remainder of your case. This will be the only letter we mail you, and we mail it, as well as email it, because it is that important.
This post discusses only one aspect of what is a fairly tedious task which is to gathering all the documents required by the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustee prior to the 341 Meeting of Creditors. Our filing letter will spell out in detail all of the necessary requirements in detail. If there’s any aspect of those requirements, or anything contained in that letter, please do not hesitate to call me immediately.
Within a few weeks after filing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Petition in Missouri, you’ll be asked by your lawyer to provide additional documents for the Trustee pursuant to Bankruptcy Rule 4002. These additional documents should be provided no later than 2 weeks prior to your 341 Meeting. Among these requirement is the “Most Recent Proof of Income for the 60 Days prior to filing and the most immediate after filing your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy”. While this may seem an obvious feat, it can get tricky in certain situations.
The General Rule:
The Bankruptcy Panel Trustee wants to see where any income you received 60 days prior to filing the case, and immediately after filing came from, and how much. Remember, part of the Trustees job is to oversee the bankruptcy on behalf of the creditors, and to make sure that what you have claimed regarding your income is correct.
For most debtors with regular paying jobs, be it every 2 weeks, every 15 days, or even once a month, the task is easy; simply save the paystubs from that 60 day period, and the next stub you get after you file the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Petition: and give it to your attorney. Hence, if you file on the 10th of the month, and get paid on the 15th, be sure to give that paycheck stub to your attorney.
Specific Areas of Concern
- Self Employed Debtors: If you are self employed, the simple task of handing over a paycheck stub isn’t so easy, afterall, you don’t get paycheck stubs. In this case, you’ll want to use your accounting mechanism, a.k.a. accounting method to provide this information. Many times, small businesses and self employed debtor’s rely on QuickBooks or other softward for this purpose. Ultimately, you’ll want to provide the trustee with a snap-shop of what you’ve earned right after filing. In my practice here in St. Louis County, I ask my clients to provide me with the months summary of income and expenses, so the Trustee understands what type of gross income and expenses a small business / self employed debtor had after filing.
- Unemployed Debtors: This may be an easier task, but you should still provide any proof of income to the trustee, be is a list of unemployment payments, retirement deposits, or whatever the case may be to show how you’ve obtained money after the filing of the case.
- Debtor’s Without any Source of Income: If there has been no income, no money brought in, the debtor will want to file an affidavit to that effect. Consult with your bankruptcy lawyer about that affidavit, as they vary among the districts. This affidavit tells the Trustee “There hasn’t been any income, so don’t bother looking for it”, and the Trustees usually appreciate the heads up. (He or She may still look around for it!)
Ultimately, this is an easy task. Just keep in mind that the most recent check stub after filing means the first stub you received after you met with your attorney, signed the petition, and the case was filed. Save that stub, and get it to your attorney. If your self employed, prepare a document stating how much you received after the filing of the case. He or she will get it to the Trustee, along with the other documents required and you’ll be ready for that 341 Meeting without worry, and ready for the Discharge of your debts.
By: Guss Markwell