The Rule 2004 Examination is adapted from the civil “discovery” process in a case. It allows debtors, bankruptcy Trustees and any other party in interest in a bankruptcy case to examine “any entity” (meaning whatever part of the bankruptcy and its dealings that they choose) as long as the examination relates to, according to Rule 2004 (b) under Section 343 of the Bankruptcy Code, “acts, conducts, or property, or to the liabilities and financial conditions of the debtor, or to any matter which may affect the administration of the debtor’s estate, or to the debtor’s right to discharge”.
A creditor may request the Rule 2004 examination or a representative on behalf of the creditor(s) may request permission to complete the Rule 2004 examination. The Rule 2004 examination is the Bankruptcy Code’s form of a deposition.
A deposition is an opportunity for creditors or other interested to ask questions under oath. The answers to those questions can be used as evidence against the Debtor in an adversary proceeding or in an objection the discharge of debts. The Rule 2004 examination typically last a couple of hours but could be longer or shorter depending upon the complexity of the situation and the amount of questions a creditor has.
As an advocate for debtors, we cannot stress, to the highest degree, how important it is to make sure that you disclose everything to your bankruptcy attorney. In conjunction with your attorney you should be completely honest on your bankruptcy paperwork. An experienced bankruptcy lawyer can usually take steps to help you avoid a Rule 2004 examination or can help defend your deposition during a Rule 2004 examination.