What Happens During the Meeting of Creditors?
Denton County Bankruptcy Attorney Explains the 341 Meeting
One of the first steps in the bankruptcy process, after filing the initial paperwork, is the 341 meeting of creditors. This is a legal process in which you, your bankruptcy attorney, the trustee and, in some cases, your creditors meet to review your case. The bankruptcy trustee will check your petition, other documents and identity to ensure everything is accurate before your case proceeds. You will also answer a series of questions from the trustee and possibly some of your creditors. However, the 341 meeting is typically brief and rarely presents problems.
If you are considering filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will have to attend a meeting of creditors. However, you do not have to go to this meeting alone. Denton County bankruptcy lawyer David Shuster has assisted hundreds of Texans through the bankruptcy. He can help you prepare for every step of the process, and will attend the 341 meeting with you. He also offers free initial consultations so that you can get answers to all your legal questions before filing.
What is the Purpose of a 341 Meeting of Creditors?
A 341 meeting is necessary so that the bankruptcy trustee can resolve any conflicts or questions about your petition or paperwork. It is also when you swear under oath that your information is correct and that you are filing in good faith. If you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the trustee may ask you questions primarily concerning your nonexempt assets, if any exist. These are the assets that will be liquidated to pay a portion of your debts before you receive a discharge. If you file Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the questions may focus instead on your repayment plan. You may need to confirm your income and expenses, as well as explain your job.
Your creditors may also attend or send attorneys in their place to ask you certain questions as well. In most cases, few, if any, creditors attend the 341 meeting for a consumer debtor. However, it is possible, especially with those creditors to whom you owe secured debts like a mortgage or car payments. They may wish to determine whether you plan to keep your property and how you will pay off the rest of what you owe. Your bankruptcy attorney can help you prepare for situations like these if you believe a creditor may appear.
What Can I Expect in a 341 Meeting?
Most 341 meetings are short, especially if you provide all paperwork to the trustee beforehand. First you will verify your identity, usually by presenting your license and Social Security card. Then, the trustee will place you under oath and ask you a series of questions. You will likely answer general questions as well as provide more specific information about your individual situation. Some common questions include:
- Is all information you submitted accurate? Has anything changed since you filed?
- Have you filed for bankruptcy before? If so, when?
- Do you owe child and/or spousal support?
- Did you include all your creditors?
- Do you own real estate? Have you transferred ownership of real estate or other property in the past two years?
- Are you currently in the process of a lawsuit of any kind?
- Do you own a business?
- If you filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy, do you have any nonexempt assets not listed in your petition?
- If you filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy, is your job stable? Do you have any reason to believe you will not be able to complete the repayment plan?
The trustee may also ask you how you arrived at the listed values for your property, especially if there are any anomalies. Before the meeting, your bankruptcy lawyer will usually warn you if anything about your petition and paperwork is likely to be questioned.
Then, your creditors (if any appear) will be permitted to ask you questions. Usually, these questions will concern property you purchased on credit, or else there may be attempts to inquire about possible bankruptcy fraud. For example, a creditor may ask questions about your application for credit, especially if the information is different from what you provided in the bankruptcy petition. However, creditor questions are rare. If you do face them, provide honest, straightforward answers. Your bankruptcy attorney will be at your side throughout the 341 meeting.
Questions or Concerns About Bankruptcy? Contact Our Denton County Law Firm Now
For most people, the meeting of creditors is a quick, simple process. However, if for any reason there are complications, your Texas bankruptcy attorney will be by your side. The point of the bankruptcy process is to help people get out from under crushing debt and get a fresh financial start—not create overwhelming stress or place obstacles in your way. Therefore, if you have questions about the 341 meeting, or any other concerns, contact our Denton County law firm today.
Partner David Shuster is ready and willing to answer your questions and help you get started on the bankruptcy process. Call (972) 315-6222 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation.