When you file for bankruptcy the court will schedule a “341 Hearing,” or a “meeting of the creditors.”
This hearing is a chance for your creditors to ask questions about your assets and liabilities, as well as your income and expenses. It’s an opportunity to confirm facts that you’ve stated when you filed your bankruptcy paperwork.
The creditors themselves will not ask you questions. The trustee will, and in general the questions are routine and boring. In a lot of cases the creditors do not even show up.
Nevertheless, you have to go, and it pays to be prepared.
Gather Your Documentation
You’ll need to bring the following:
- Your driver’s license.
- Your Social Security card.
- Bank statements.
- Paycheck stubs.
- Property deeds.
- Vehicle loan documents.
- Copies of bills.
- Copies of applicable legal settlements.
For the most part, you’ll have gathered all this documentation already, just in the process of getting prepared to meet with your New Jersey bankruptcy attorney. We urge you to keep it all in one file, folder, or binder until your case is done.
Know What to Expect
Routine questions could include:
- Whether anyone holds any property belonging to you.
- Questions about the value of property that you own.
- Questions about whether you are the plaintiff in any lawsuits.
- Questions about expected future windfalls, such as proceeds from life insurance cases or inheritances.
- Questions about the make, model, year, and value of your vehicles.
- Questions about your business.
Just answer honestly and truthfully. If you have prepared your petition with help from an attorney you should know the answer to all these questions, or have the documents to look up the answers pretty quickly if you need to.
The trustee generally only asks difficult questions if they have reason to believe you are attempting to hide something from them, or are attempting to commit bankruptcy fraud.
What if things go wrong?
Things can go wrong at a 341 hearing, which is one reason why you want to work with a bankruptcy attorney rather than attempting to navigate the hearing yourself.
If the trustee discovered information about your assets and liabilities that you forgot or failed to report, or if there are questions you can’t answer, then you’ll be glad your attorney can step in and speak up for you in a way that the trustee will accept.
The 341 meeting is one of the reasons why most filers who attempt to go pro se don’t complete the process.
Get started by contacting our office today. We offer affordable help and a path to a fresh start.