521 Documents: What You Need to Know

Sacramento Bankruptcy Lawyer Rick MorinBefore your Meeting of Creditors, also known as a 341 hearing, a debtor is required to provide certain documents to the Bankruptcy Trustee assigned to his or her case. These required documents are commonly referred to as “521 documents” because the requirement is listed in a few parts of 11 USC § 521.

Let’s start with an anomaly here in Sacramento: pay advices.

11 USC § 521(a)(1)(B)(iv) requires that the debtor file 60 days of payment advices (a fancy way of saying pay stubs) with Bankruptcy Court along with other required bankruptcy paperwork. Here in the Eastern District of California, local rules actually tell attorneys not to file the pay advices with the Court. Rather, attorneys are directed to file the pay advices with the Bankruptcy Trustee.

This change in procedure for pay advices is a great example of why familiarity with the local rules in Sacramento is so important.

Moving on, 11 USC § 521(e)(2)(A)(i) requires that a debtor file with the Bankruptcy a copy of his or her most recently filed tax return. This is pretty straightforward. However, sometimes I have a client that has not filed taxes recently. This might be because the debtor only receives social security income (not subject to taxation). A simple note to the Trustee explaining the lack of a tax return is sufficient in these circumstances.

A debtor without a recent tax return because he or she just hasn’t gotten around to filing can expect some extra scrutiny from the Bankruptcy Trustee. Make sure you file your taxes on time!

Bankruptcy Trustees here in Sacramento also demand various other types of documents in preparation of the 341 hearing. These typically include recent bank statements, statements for mortgages and retirement accounts, and specific information regarding outstanding domestic support obligations.

It is always a good idea to check with your specific Bankruptcy Trustee well in advance of your 341 hearing. This will allow you to determine exactly what documents the Trustee will require beyond those listed in 521 of Title 11.

Don’t hesitate to call me if you have any questions about the documents you need to file with the Bankruptcy Trustee. I am happy to discuss Bankruptcy procedures. My office phone number is (916) 333-2222.