What to Expect at Your 341 Meeting
In most bankruptcy cases, the case goes without any problem, and there are few, if any hearings for the debtor to have to go to before a discharge is entered (or until a plan is approved, in a Chapter 13). However, there is one event that every debtor will have to attend: The 341 meeting of creditors.
What is a 341 Meeting?
As the name implies, a “meeting of creditors” is supposed to be where your creditors all show up and have the opportunity to question you about your bankruptcy, and the documents that you have filed in connection with the bankruptcy. But in practice, few, if any creditors actually attend, and really, the 341 meeting is the bankruptcy trustee asking you a series of questions.
The questions will come from the financial documents and questionnaires that you provided and filled out when you filed for bankruptcy. Most trustees will want to know if there is anything irregular, and will question you about your documents at the 341 meeting. Trustees may be interested in any debts incurred close in time before the bankruptcy was filed, any payments made to creditors before filing, or any property transferred out of your name before filing.
What the Meeting is Like
The 341 meeting is very informal. Many 341 meetings are not in courthouses or courtrooms, although some may be. In most cases, other people who have filed for bankruptcy are in the room also, waiting for their turn to be called for questioning by the trustee.
The trustee will ask you basic questions, not all of which are intended to “trap” you. The trustee’s questions are merely to get a background, and get more information (unless there is a specific problem in your paperwork, as discussed above). Your bankruptcy attorney, with experience in 341 meetings, can give you full information on what kind of questions you can expect to be asked.
Remember that the trustee knows that you are not an attorney, and the trustee deals with people who file for bankruptcy every day, multiple times a day. They do not expect you to be an expert, or to have legal experience, and the trustee probably anticipates that you will be nervous.
Problems in 341 Meetings
People run into problems at the 341 meeting where they have not properly filled out their bankruptcy paperwork. This is one reason why it is so important to have a good bankruptcy attorney to make sure your paperwork is complete. Incomplete information can lead a trustee to question your honesty, even if an error or omission was innocent.
The trustee may ask for further information or documentation if there was something revealed in the 341 meeting that the trustee wants more information about. If not, and the trustee is satisfied that there is no further action needed, the trustee will conclude the meeting and the case moves forward.
If you are filing for bankruptcy make sure you are prepared, and that your questions are answered. Contact the Boca Raton bankruptcy attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Orchard at 561-455-7961 for a consultation today.