One of the most potentially unnerving parts of filing for bankruptcy is the requirement to attend certain hearings in person. In addition to going before a judge to have your case confirmed, you must also attend a meeting of creditors with your trustee. This meeting is one of the most crucial parts of your bankruptcy case since the actions of the trustee and your creditors could potentially derail your filing. Knowing what to expect at your bankruptcy 341 meeting will help to reduce some of your stress and better prepare you for one of the most important steps in the bankruptcy filing process.
Before anything serious can occur, the trustee will want to verify that you are who you say you are. Not only are they on the lookout for potential fraud, they also want to avoid confusion since hearings take place in a room with several bankruptcy petitioners present. The court wants to make sure the correct debtor is in front of them at any given time, so expect to be asked for your social security card and a photo identification card. Have both items ready immediately since the trustee will be in a hurry and will not appreciate having to wait for you to fumble around with your wallet or purse.
Questions About Your Debt
The primary purpose of this meeting is to verify how much debt you have and answer questions about your inability to pay those debts. During the meeting, your trustee will ask questions about everything you owe including your mortgage, car payment, credit card debts, and even debts owed to family members or friends. If you are employed, you may need to provide proof of income such as pay stubs or recent tax filings. You will also be asked how you afford certain items (specifically major purchases) and if you expect to receive any large sums of money in the immediate future such as a tax refund, inheritance, settlement, or lottery winnings. The court wants to verify that everything you claimed in your petition is correct and they always want to assess your ability (or inability) to repay your debts.
The primary purpose of this meeting is to confirm, under oath, that the information you have given to the bankruptcy court is correct. The secondary purpose is to give creditors a chance to ask questions. However, creditors arely attend these meetings and those who do are usually local business owners, small loan companies, or individuals who know the filer and made a personal loan to them. If a creditor does attend, do not panic, they are only allowed to ask questions about your assets and debts. They are not allowed to interrogate you or use your hearing as an opportunity to gain information about you outside of what has already been provided by the court.
Support from Your Attorney
Throughout the entire meeting your attorney will be present answering certain questions on your behalf and preventing any creditors who do attend from harassing you. The team at Adam Law Group understands how overwhelming bankruptcy can be, and we work hard to provide you with the support you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a consultation so that we can begin discussing your needs and begin helping you with the bankruptcy filing process.