Is the chapter 7 trustee going to ask me why my chapter 13 case was dismissed?

I had a client ask me this question as we were walking into our 341 Meeting of Creditors with the Chapter 7 Trustee up in the federal building in Ogden.

Short answer:  yes, but it really doesn’t matter.

Long answer:  In the old days, after you filed bankruptcy, you would have to explain to the trustee or judge why you filed bankruptcy.  Now, we only have two and sometimes three trustees in the state who ask why you filed.  When they do, your answer really doesn’t matter.  I have never heard a client say anything to the trustee in response to this question that hurt my client’s case at all.

On the other hand, all of the trustees will ask you if you have filed bankruptcy before.  If you had a 13 dismissed recently, they will ask why it was dismissed.  A safe answer is always, “I couldn’t keep up with the payments.”  There is no reason to go into detail on this one.

That being said, you are pretty safe going into detail if you need to, but it’s usually not a good idea to overexplain yourself to the trustee.  Short, simple answers are best.

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