Also called a “341 hearing”, the meeting of creditors can be another source of stress during the bankruptcy process. However, the conclusion of a 341 hearing can provide tremendous relief as it offers a fresh financial start.
What Is a Meeting of Creditors?
Your meeting of creditors will be presided over by a trustee who will ask you questions. Creditors are invited to attend, but will probably not show up.
The meeting of creditors is the only appearance you have to make after filing for bankruptcy. So, you must attend. Even though it isn’t a court hearing, it’s something to take seriously. While a judge won’t preside over the meting and it won’t take place in a courtroom, you will be under oath and recorded.
Who Will Be at My Meeting of Creditors?
Your meeting of creditors will be scheduled at the same time as about ten other 341 hearings. You might have to wait for your case to be called. Your meeting might also be watched by other people going through bankruptcy and their attorneys waiting for their 341 hearings.
Your 341 hearing will be attended by you, your attorney, and an appointed bankruptcy trustee. The meeting of creditors is mainly for informational purposes. It is an opportunity for the trustee and creditors to get answers from you under oath about your bankruptcy.
How Do I Prepare for It?
Before your meeting of creditors, you should review your bankruptcy petition with your attorney. Make sure there aren’t any mistakes or missing information. To correct mistakes or add missing information, simply file an amendment before the hearing. Or, make the trustee aware of the items when the hearing starts.
You will have to bring to the 341 hearing documents verifying your identity. So, bring your photo identification and Social Security cards. You will also have to bring proof of your financial situation. So, bring pay stubs, bank statements, and other documents that the trustee requests.
Be prepared to wait for your meeting to be called. Once you are called up, you will be asked to raise your right hand and be placed under oath. So, make sure to answer honestly and openly.
The meeting will move quickly. The trustee and creditors, if any show up, will ask a short set of questions. Usually, 341 hearings are over in less than ten minutes.
What Kind of Questions Will the Trustee Would Ask Me at My Meeting of Creditors?
The trustee is required to ensure that information you reported on documents you filed with the court is accurate. They will ask whether you reviewed your bankruptcy petition prior to signing it. They will also ask whether the assets and debts on your bankruptcy petition are correct and whether you omitted anything
The trustee wants your creditors to get paid as much as possible under your financial circumstances. So, they could ask whether you have assets that aren’t protected from bankruptcy and can be used to pay creditors. They could also ask how you came up with the value of your house or car.
In the rare occasion that a creditor attends, they will have specific questions. They might want to find out if you incurred debt without intending to pay it back or committed fraud. Creditors can’t use the 341 hearing as an opportunity to pressure or embarrass you.
What Happens After My Meeting of Creditors?
The trustee will adjourn the 341 hearing when all questions have been asked and all answers have been provided. Once the trustee concludes your meeting of creditors, you will most likely experience a feeling of relief.
In most cases, the closing of your meeting of creditors automatically results in a discharge of your debt. Your nervous energy will give way to hope. The conclusion of the meeting of creditors gives you what you were looking for with bankruptcy – a fresh start.
Talk to a North Charleston Bankruptcy Attorney Today
If you received a notice about a 341 meeting of creditors, you probably want to know what to expect. An experienced North Charleston bankruptcy attorney can help you prepare for your hearing so you can get the fresh start you want. At Steadman Law Firm, P.A., we can guide you through the bankruptcy process and get you out from under your debt. Contact us today to learn more.