The creditors meeting or the 341 hearing indicates the commencement of the case. This is mandated by the United States Bankruptcy Court for the specific states and is scheduled 30 days after the bankruptcy filing. The date and the time for this meeting of creditors along with the debtor is notified within a couple of weeks of filing.
Here’s how you need to plan for the meeting as a debtor –
- The meeting generally happens over a span of 2-3 hours. Also, take into account the travel time needed to reach the court
- There is no imperative dress code needed to bead hered to or to dress up fancily
- Getting through the security of the courthouse will be a process to adhere to – metal detectors for the personnel, X-Ray scanner for the objects that you carry, etc. If you are carrying anything that is prohibited by the court house, hand over to the security and reclaim prior to leaving the courthouse after your 341 hearing
Preparing for the meeting
Every the bankruptcy case will be assigned a bankruptcy trustee who generally questions regarding your financial status and the current scenario of bankruptcy. As a debtor, be prepared to answer his questions that are just directed to you for the purpose of confirming all the disclosed information or to gather supporting details. There is nothing to be worried and anxious about this interrogation as long as the debtors appear for the hearing and answer every question honestly.
Note the below about the meeting –
- 341 hearings are very concise and peaceful meetings
- No justification for the case of bankruptcy is expected from the debtor
- There is no mandatory attendance expected from the creditors for this hearing – so they rarely show up
- If the trustee or creditors uncover newer facts, they can request the judge to file a motion or an adversary proceeding. Hence it is advised that you discuss the proceedings with your bankruptcy attorney prior to the meeting and iron out all the facts involved in the bankruptcy filing
The Creditors Meeting
The actual creditors meeting in the courthouse can be scheduled for you and for many other debtors around the same time. So being on top of the list, that is posted outside of the door, will indicate you could be called in sooner than the others else you may need to wait for some the time before you are called in. But look at the wait time as an opportunity to know of the meeting protocol about what to expect, and how to respond to questions.
On the calling of your name, you will be asked to sit at a table near the front of the courtroom. After swearing you in, and seeking proof of your identity (produce the Social Security Number and a photo ID), the meeting commences. The bankruptcy trustee will be reviewing your forms and may pose a few questions. Answer them honestly in line with the information disclosed in the documentation. The key part of this meeting would be to validate the effectiveness of your repayment plan to repay the debts in the stipulated time and the fairness in treating all creditors equally.
If there are creditors who have turned up for this 341 hearing, they can pose their queries once the trustee finishes. The type of creditors who turn up may be the secured creditors like your mortgage lender – it could be for the purpose of contending the collateral values.
Remember that the meeting of creditors is only the start of the bankruptcy case negotiations and hence the concerns of the trustee will also be treated with equal importance by the judge. The culmination to the filing will only occur after a month or two later.
In order that you are well prepared and equipped with the right amount of information, get the assistance of Recovery Law Group – they serve clientele from California, Nevada and Texas states.