When you decide to file for bankruptcy, one of the thoughts you instantly get is “Will I have to go to court”?
In most of the bankruptcy cases you will not be obligated to go to court, but you will definitely attend the so called 341 Hearing.
The purpose of this hearing is for you to confirm and answer all the information about your bankruptcy case. The 341 Hearing is a meeting of creditors, not a court hearing. It is run by your bankruptcy Trustee and usually held in a meeting room.
Take a look at the characteristics of this meeting so you can be prepared and informed about it in advance.
Chapter 13 Meeting
Chapter 13 Meeting is the perfect opportunity for you to explain in detail your proposed repayment plan and for the Chapter 13 Trustee to ask you questions about your plan, finances, assets and payments.
Before the 341 Meeting, your Trustee will review all the paperwork you filed, your bankruptcy petition, and your schedules showing your assets, debts, income, and expenses. Also, he will review your Statement of Financial Affairs and your Chapter 13 plan.
In a Chapter 13 case, the 341 meeting will be set for at least 21 days, but no more than 50 days after the day you file your case.
- What questions to expect at Your Chapter 13 Meeting of Creditors
When the Chapter 13 Trustee calls your case, you will sit at a table with your attorney so the Trustee can question you. If any of your creditors or their attorneys are in attendance, they will sit at the table with you. Your Trustee will ask the following questions:
- Did you read the schedules before signing?
- Did you list all of your assets?
- Did you list all of your debts?
- Are the schedules accurate?
- Do you want to make any corrections to the schedules?
- Have you lived in this state for the past two years?
- Do you owe anyone domestic support?
- Are your cars insured?
- Have you destroyed your credit cards?
When the Trustee finishes with his questions, the creditors can ask you questions about the payment plan. Creditors appearing at the 341 Meeting in a Chapter 13 case are uncommon. Usually, they simply file objections to your plan and try to resolve those with you through your attorney and the court.
In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, in addition to concluding or continuing your meeting of creditors, the Trustee can also try to dismiss your case at your confirmation hearing in front of the bankruptcy judge.
Chapter 7 Meeting
If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must attend the meeting of creditors. This meeting is governed by a Chapter 7 Trustee. The Trustee will try to sell non-exempt property to repay general unsecured creditors. The Trustee also looks for bankruptcy fraud, makes sure your paperwork is accurate, and conducts an investigation into your property and your finances.
Before the 341 Hearing the Trustee will review your paperwork, debts, income, previous federal tax returns and financial transactions.
Be sure to bring your ID and proof of your social security number to the meeting.
Typical documents a Chapter 7 Trustee may require you to bring to your 341 meeting include:
- Copies of recorded mortgage documents
- Property deeds
- Bank statements
- Tax returns
- Pay stubs
The Trustee acts on behalf of the unsecured creditors and he will want to make sure that your schedules provide accurate information about how much your property is worth.
Typical questions include:
- Why you are filing bankruptcy?
- Did you list all your property in your schedules and have you listed accurate values?
- Whether you have repaid any of your creditors within the three months prior to your bankruptcy.
- Whether you have repaid any relatives or close friends in the last year?
- Did you transfer money in the past years?
- Whether you own or have ever owned a business
- Whether your income is accurate in your schedules and on your means test.
- Whether you owe child support, alimony, or any other domestic support.
- Whether your monthly expenses are necessary and reasonable.
When the Trustee finishes with questions, he will conclude the meeting. But, if there is creditors present, then the Trustee will allow them to ask you questions.
If you filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the bankruptcy Trustee will typically either conclude your hearing or continue it to another date if he or she requires more information or documentation from you.
If the bankruptcy Trustee has no further questions and is satisfied with the information provided in your bankruptcy papers and supporting documentation, he or she will conclude your meeting of creditors. This means that you don’t need to appear at another hearing in front of the bankruptcy Trustee.
If the Trustee needs more information or supporting documentation from you, he or she will usually continue the meeting of creditors to another date. If your hearing is continued, you will need to follow the Trustee’s instructions and provide him or her with the requested information prior to your next hearing.
Be prepared and keep in mind all the requirements needed for the Meeting 341 to be completed in your favor.