What is the Meeting Of Creditors and How Do I Prepare?
When you file for bankruptcy protection, the court will mandate that you attend a hearing called the 341 hearing, or the meeting of creditors. At this hearing, the bankruptcy trustee and your creditors can ask you questions about your finances under oath. It is important that you understand what will happen at this meeting as well as how you can prepare for it.
Purpose of the 341 hearing
The 341 hearing is meant to allow your creditors and the trustee appointed to your case to learn more about what you included in your bankruptcy paperwork. You will be asked questions under oath. Even though this meeting is called the meeting of creditors, creditors frequently do not attend.
In most cases, a 341 hearing is a short proceeding during which the trustee of your bankruptcy case will ask you questions in order to verify the information you included in your paperwork. If he or she has any questions about your expenses, assets or income, he or she will also ask questions in order to clarify them.
Location of the 341 hearing
After you have filed your bankruptcy petition, the bankruptcy court mails both you and your creditors a notice containing the location and time of your 341 hearing. These hearings are not held in courtrooms, and no judges are present. Most of the time, these hearings are held in office building meeting rooms.
What to bring to your meeting
You will need to prove your identity at the 341 hearing. You should bring your social security card to prove your social security number along with a valid photo identification, such as your driver’s license. If you are unable to locate your social security card, a majority of trustees will accept original documents that have your social security number on them, such as W-2 forms. They might also accept tax returns if the returns were prepared by a tax preparer.
You should also bring a copy of all of your paperwork and the documentation that you were asked to send to the bankruptcy trustee before the hearing. This can help you if you need to be able to refer to them when you are answering questions.
What will happen after you arrive
Normally, several people will have 341 hearings that are scheduled for the same hour. You will likely wait for your turn inside of the meeting room until you are called. When the trustee calls you, you then will go up to his or her desk for your examination. Since bankruptcy hearings are public, other debtors are able to watch and listen to what happens while they are also waiting for their own meetings.
Questions trustees frequently ask
Although there are some commonly asked questions, every trustee will have his or her own individual way in which he or she examines debtors. This means that the questions you will be asked will depend on your individual trustee. Here are some of the frequently asked questions at 341 meetings:
- Did you review your bankruptcy petition before signing it?
- Are all of your assets and property listed?
- Are all of your debts listed?
- Is all of the information in your petition correct?
- Is this your first bankruptcy petition, or have you filed in the past?
- Do you have to pay child support or alimony?
- Has anything changed since you filed your petition?
- Have you filed all of your tax returns?
- Have you charged anything new on your credit cards in the past year?
- Have you transferred any property to others before filing for bankruptcy?
- Are your vehicles insured?
- Do you own your own business?
- How did you arrive at a value for your assets?
After the 341 hearing
Your trustee will finish your hearing once he or she has no more questions to ask. If he or she has more questions or needs more information from you, your hearing will be continued to a new date in order to allow you time to collect the needed documents and forward them to the trustee. What happens after your 341 hearing will depend on the type of bankruptcy you filed as well as how your meeting went.
Contact Our bankruptcy Attorneys
If you are thinking about filing for protection under the bankruptcy code, you’ll likely need legal help. Our attorneys may help you through the process, increasing the likelihood that your bankruptcy will be successful. Contact our bankruptcy attorneys today to learn more about the different available chapters of bankruptcy and which is the best choice for you.