When you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you’ll attend a mandatory Meeting of the Creditors (called a 341 hearing) before the court will discharge your case. This meeting typically takes place within 20 to 40 days of your bankruptcy filing and is designed to verify information about your assets, liabilities, and other details you supply on your bankruptcy paperwork.
You’ll attend this meeting with your bankruptcy trustee and some of your creditors may be present too, although it’s rare for them to appear. If you’re working with a bankruptcy attorney (you absolutely should), your lawyer will also attend the 341 hearing.
What should you do to get ready for this meeting? Ron Lundquist, one of the leading bankruptcy attorneys in the Twin Cities metro, shares what you need to know below.
You’re Under Oath During the 341 Hearing
First and foremost, understand that during the Meeting of the Creditors, you’ll have to answer all questions from your bankruptcy trustee under oath. Your answers are legally binding, so although you’ll be asked highly personal financial questions, you must answer openly and honestly.
Double- and Triple-Check the Hearing Date
The court will send you a notice that states the date, time, and location of your 341 hearing. Because the meeting is mandatory, if you fail to attend, the court may dismiss your bankruptcy case (that’s not what you want; you want a discharge).
If you filed a joint petition with your spouse, both of you must attend the hearing. Make sure you write down the date on your calendar, create an alert on your phone — do whatever you need to do to make sure your schedule is free of any other obligations.
Review Your Information With Your Bankruptcy Attorney
On your bankruptcy paperwork, you provided several details about your income, expenses, assets, liabilities, and other financial information. During the 341 hearing, your bankruptcy trustee will go over this information with you and ask you a series of questions to verify that everything is accurate and correct.
Before you attend the Meeting of Creditors, it’s a good idea to review the paperwork with your attorney so you can provide clear and accurate answers during the meeting. If you notice any errors in the documentation, bring them to your attorney’s attention. That way, you and your lawyer can amend the forms prior to the hearing.
What To Bring to the Meeting of the Creditors
The majority of the documents that verify your financial information should already be in your bankruptcy trustee’s hands prior to the 341 hearing. That said, you’ll still need to bring a few things with you:
● A government-issued photo ID
● A hard copy of bankruptcy paperwork
● Your social security card
If there is any change to your financial information between the time you file your petition and the date of your 341 hearing, you’ll need to bring physical documentation of the change to the meeting. Your trustee will need this information. If you bring any new records, the trustee will need time to review them, so be prepared for the 341 hearing to be continued at a later date.
If you’re unsure what you need to bring, ask your bankruptcy attorney. Double-check that you have the necessary documents prior to the meeting to ensure a smooth process. If you attend without all the documents you need, it’s not the end of the world, but it can slow things down.
Your trustee may push the meeting back to a later date or question you anyway and ask you to present the appropriate documentation later. Either way, it’s just one more step in the process that you probably don’t need, especially if you’re filing for bankruptcy to avoid foreclosure or another pressing financial matter.
Schedule a Consultation With a Twin Cities Bankruptcy Attorney Today
If you’re struggling under the weight of a heavy financial burden, filing for bankruptcy can give you a clean slate and an opportunity to start fresh. If you’ve been considering Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it’s important that you meet with a knowledgeable attorney who can help you determine which option is in your best interest.
To learn more about whether filing for bankruptcy may be right for you, request a free consultation with Ron Lunquist, Attorney at Law, one of the Twin Cities’ leading bankruptcy attorneys. You can also call the Minnesota Bankruptcy Law Center at 651-454-0007 or send us a message for more information.