Filing for bankruptcy can be a challenging and overwhelming process, but it can also provide much-needed relief and a fresh start. One important step in the bankruptcy process is the 341 Meeting of Creditors. This meeting, required by Section 341 of the United States Bankruptcy Code, serves as an opportunity for creditors, the trustee, and the debtor to meet and discuss on record your financial situation. In this blog post, we will provide a simplified guide to help you understand what to expect and how to prepare for the 341 Meeting.
What should you bring to the 341 Hearing?
Typically, you will have already submitted supporting documents to the trustee prior to the Meeting of Creditors, such as pay stubs, bank statements, retirement account statements, and income tax returns. Alternatively, you may have filed these documents with the court. Certain trustees may also request additional documents. If you haven’t already provided these documents to the trustee, make sure to bring them with you to the 341 meeting.
You will likely want to bring a copy of the filed bankruptcy paperwork to the hearing for reference, along with:
- An approved photo I.D.
- Your Social Security Card, and
- Any documents that reflect a financial change since filing your petition.
What type of Questions should you expect?
The trustee will ask you a variety of questions about your financial situation. These questions may include:
- Did you sign the petition, schedules, statements, and related documents and is the signature your own? Did you read the petition, schedules, statements, and related documents before you signed them?
- Are you personally familiar with the information contained in the petition, schedules, statements and related documents? To the best of your knowledge, is the information contained in the petition, schedules, statements, and related documents true and correct? Are there any errors or omissions to bring to my attention at this time?
- Are all of your assets identified on the schedules? Have you listed all of your creditors on the schedules?
- Have you previously filed for bankruptcy? (If so, the trustee must obtain the case number and the discharge information to determine the debtor(s) discharge eligibility.)
- What is the address of your current employer?
- Is the copy of the tax return you provided a true copy of the most recent tax return you filed?
- Do you have a domestic support obligation? (Alimony, child support, etc.…) To whom? Please provide me with the claimant’s address and telephone number, but do not state it on the record.
- Have you read the Bankruptcy Information Sheet provided by the United States Trustee?
It is important to note that creditors may appear and ask questions as well. Generally, the creditors’ questions are confined to matters relevant to information provided in the bankruptcy schedules. Further, legal counsel will be in attendance to assist in making sure the meeting goes smoothly.
Attending a 341 Meeting of Creditors is a critical step in the bankruptcy process. By understanding what to expect and adequately preparing, you can navigate the meeting with confidence. If you have any questions about the 341 meeting, you should speak to your bankruptcy attorney. They can help you prepare for the meeting and answer any questions that you may have.
John O’Leary, Attorney
Bridger Dolan, Legal Intern
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