During every bankruptcy case, it is required that the person filing for bankruptcy attend a meeting called the meeting of creditors, also known as a 341 meeting. This meeting is an opportunity for you to meet with the trustee assigned to your bankruptcy case, who then asks you a serious of questions about the truthfulness of the information you provided the bankruptcy court.
Here’s what you should expect.
Setting Up the Meeting of Creditors
The court first sets up the meeting of creditors between 21 and 40 days after your bankruptcy filing date. It usually takes place in a meeting room at a federal building, such as the Federal Courthouse in Charlotte, or an offsite location. These meetings are held in mass so others filing bankruptcy may appear at the same meeting time as you. Your case will be called in order as it appears on the court’s calendar.
The bankruptcy trustee is responsible for more than just conducting the meeting of creditors. A trustee must also:
- Verify your identity
- Review your bankruptcy paperwork for accuracy
- Investigate potential bankruptcy fraud
- Evaluate whether to convert your case to a Chapter 13 bankruptcy
- Sell nonexempt property for creditors
Paperwork that a trustee looks at includes real estate deeds, car titles, proof of insurance, mortgage and vehicle loan statements and marital settlement agreements and court orders.
Preparing for the 341 Meeting
Before your meeting of creditors, carefully review your bankruptcy petition. If you find something missing or an error, you should contact your attorney to work with you to complete the following:
- File an amendment before the hearing, or
- Bring the changes to the trustee’s attention at the very beginning of the hearing.
What to Bring to the Hearing
In order for your meeting to go forward as scheduled, you are required to show up to your hearing with the following:
- Photo identification
- Social Security card (or other proof of your Social Security number)
- Bankruptcy papers
- Proof of income
- Recent bank and investment accounts statements
If documentation was required for any of your expenses under the means test, you must bring those documents. Finally, you must take any other documents that the trustee requests in the notice of meeting of creditors.
Meeting of Creditors
The meeting of creditors is held in a meeting room, with no judge present. The trustee runs the hearing, and creditors may attend as well, although in most cases no creditors show up. However, even if the creditors do not show up, they have a right to listen to your meeting that will be recorded. Therefore, you must answer the following questions audibly – out loud – so that the recording can pick up your voice. The trustee will swear you in and ask a series of questions for about 5 to 10 minutes.
Typical questions include:
- Do you anticipate receiving any tax refunds?
- Have you transferred any property within the last year?
- Does anyone else hold property that belongs to you?
- Do you anticipate receiving an inheritance in the future?
- Do you have any legal claim for money from a business or another entity?
- Do you have any possible claims against someone because of a recent accident?
- Have you made any recent large payments to relatives or creditors?
- Does anyone owe you money?
- Do you owe child support or alimony to anyone?
- How did you value your home in your bankruptcy schedules and statements?
If the trustee is satisfied with your answers, the meeting is closed. If the trustee still has questions, the meeting is continued and a follow-up date is set. If for some reason you don’t attend your meeting of creditors at its scheduled time, the court will likely dismiss your bankruptcy case. The only possible exceptions include medical or family emergencies, serious medical conditions, natural disasters, incarcerations or active military service. You should contact your attorney immediately if it appears that you may not be able to attend your meeting.
If you are planning on filing for bankruptcy, please contact our Belmont bankruptcy lawyer at Taylor Law, PLLC to start building a brighter financial future. Attorney Yansea Taylor can help you collect the right information, fill out your paperwork, remind you of your hearing and much more.
Call or (704) 461-8785 contact us online to schedule a free consultation.