Meeting the Trustee- Preparing for and Attending the 341 Meeting
A common concern for many consumer debtors who file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 relief is attending their 341 Meeting of Creditors. The Meeting of Creditors or 341 Meeting happens for both bankruptcy chapters. Following on from your bankruptcy filing petition, the court will schedule a hearing. Typically, these hearings will take place between 20 to 40 days after the filing of the case.
A required process is for you to provide proof of identification (Driver’s License, Passport, or State Identification card) along with your original Social Security Card. All debtors must appear at a Meeting of Creditors and provide sworn testimony before the bankruptcy trustee appointed to administer the bankruptcy estate. It sounds much worse than it actually is in reality.
Do I Attend the 341 Meeting Alone?
Our New Jersey bankruptcy attorney attends the 341 Meeting you and our office prepares you for the meeting in advance. We typically tell clients to arrive at the meeting about 30 minutes early to find a parking space and to locate the hearing room. We will make sure you know where to go long before the day you need to appear at the hearing.
Once you reach the hearing room, you can take a seat in the room and listen to the trustee conduct other cases. If you arrive early, you can see what will happen during your hearing. The trustee begins each Meeting of Creditors in the same manner with the same questions. Observing some hearings may help you know what to expect when your name is called, which removes much of the anxiety and stress you might have.
What If I Don’t Know the Answers to the Trustee’s Questions?
You will know each answer because the questions the bankruptcy trustee asks are the same questions we have asked you as we prepared your bankruptcy forms. We also review the standard questions with you when we prepare you for your 341 Meeting of Creditors.
If you watch a few cases, you notice that the trustee asks the same questions of each debtor. Those questions typically include:
- State your name for the record.
- Did you read and sign the petition, schedules, and statements filed with the court?
- Are you personally familiar with the information contained in these documents?
- Is the information in your bankruptcy forms and any related documentation true and accurate?
- Do you know of any errors or do you need to make any changes to the information?
- Have you listed all your assets and debts in your schedules?
- Have you filed for bankruptcy relief previous to this filing?
- Do you owe or pay any domestic support obligations (alimony or child support)?
- Have you filed all required tax returns and submitted your most recently filed tax return to my office?
- Did you review the bankruptcy information sheet?
- Have you repaid any debts to friends or family members within the past year?
- Have you transferred or sold any property within the past two years?
- Is anyone holding any property for you?
- Does anyone owe you money?
- How did you decide what values to use for assets listed in your bankruptcy forms?
Other Points To Consider
The trustee may also ask other questions that are specific to your bankruptcy case. Typically, we recognize when a trustee might be interested in a specific item on your forms, so we prepare you for that question.
The trustee is not attempting to trip you up or trick you. The trustee is simply asking you questions about your financial situation for the record to make decisions regarding the administration of your bankruptcy case.
What Happens if a Creditor Appears?
Creditors can appear at a 341 Meeting and ask questions. Rarely do creditors appear at the hearing because they can obtain the information they need online or from your attorney. If a creditor appears, you answer the questions to the best of your ability. Your attorney is always present in case a problem arises.
Most Meetings of Creditors are Quick
Silverberg Law LLC prepares it’s clients for 341 Meetings, we send documents to the trustee that are required for the hearing. To best inform you most hearings take between five to ten minutes. During a Chapter 7 case, the Meeting of Creditors is the only hearing most debtors are required to attend. A Chapter 13 debtor may be required to attend the confirmation hearing for the plan. We make sure you know when you need to attend court and you are prepared before you arrive in court.
Contact Our New Jersey Bankruptcy Lawyer for a Free Case Review. Do you need a fresh start? Do you think bankruptcy is right for you? Contact Silverberg Law Firm LLC by calling (201) 252 7000 to schedule a free consultation