The meeting of creditors, also called the 341 hearing, is where you meet with your bankruptcy trustee before your court appearance. This 5-to-10-minute meeting is required by section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code. To learn more about how to prepare for your 341 hearing, speak to a bankruptcy attorney at Andrade Law Offices.
Who Must Attend the Meeting of Creditors?
The meeting of creditors is mandatory for all bankruptcy filers. Your creditors may also attend the meeting, although most of the time they won’t appear.
What Is the Role of the Trustee?
The trustee is often a lawyer, and is responsible for overseeing your bankruptcy estate. Their job involves making sure your creditors receive as much money as possible. The trustee reviews your bankruptcy papers, including assets and income, for accuracy.
Preparing for the Meeting of Creditors
Take the time to carefully review and familiarize yourself with your bankruptcy petition in the non-stressful environment of your home. Check for missing or incorrect information.
- If you find missing or inaccurate information, file an amendment before your meeting, OR
- Disclose any changes to the trustee at the very beginning of the hearing. You’ll appear credible and willing to comply with the court’s requests.
- If you wait to disclose discrepancies, the trustee might assume you’re trying to hide information.
- Bring identification, including a photo ID and your Social Security card. In lieu of your Social Security card, a W-2 form or a pay stub with your Social Security number will suffice.
- Take all of your bankruptcy paperwork.
- Provide proof of income such as: recent bank and investment account statements, documentation required for expenses under the means test, documentation requested by the trustee in the Notice of Meeting of Creditors or as required by your local court
What Questions Will the Trustee Ask You?
You meet with the trustee and your creditors in a meeting room, not a courtroom. No judge attends; the trustee conducts the meeting. Creditors can participate, although many choose not to come. You are sworn in by the trustee, and even though there is no judge, you are under oath. He or she will ask you a series of questions. Answer honestly and completely.
The trustee reviews your bankruptcy petition and asks you questions to verify information and confirm it is complete and correct. The questions relate to your assets, debts, income, and whether certain obligations can, or cannot, be included in your bankruptcy petition.
Remember, if you’re missing any information, bring it to the trustee’s attention at the very beginning of the meeting before he or she reviews your petition. Commonly asked questions include:
- How was the value of significant assets, such as your house or your car, determined?
- Do you expect to receive any property in the next year as part of a divorce action?
- Have you transferred any property within the last year OR does anyone else hold property you own?
- Have you made large payments to relatives or creditors recently?
- Do you anticipate federal or state tax refunds?
- Are you the beneficiary of a future inheritance or life insurance payout?
- Will you receive money from any business claims?
- Does anyone owe you money?
Why Creditors Might Attend
Your creditors are notified of the 341 hearing, but most won’t appear. A few reasons a creditor may attend the meeting are to:
- Ask about your intentions regarding recent cash advances or credit card charges (did you make charges and not intend to pay),
- Verify the information on your bankruptcy papers and your credit application are the same (they’re looking for fraudulent information),
- Ask about any secured property (a car or home mortgage). For example, in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a car loan lender may ask if you’ll pay the loan or surrender the car.
Contact an Ohio Bankruptcy Attorney Today
Contact the Andrade Law Offices to learn more about how to prepare for the bankruptcy meeting of creditors. We can ensure that you understand the proceedings, comply with requirements, and make informed decisions.