If you’ve filed or are about to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy—a type of bankruptcy that acknowledges your income-to-debt ratio is too low to allow repayment—you will have to attend a creditors meeting. Also known as a 341 meeting, it’s a hearing where you’ll state under oath your reasons for filing bankruptcy, as well as affirm the accuracy of your documentation.
When you file, you’ll receive a notice of the 341 meeting of creditors giving you a time, date, and location for the meeting. It will also give you the contact information for your bankruptcy trustee, who will be appointed to supervise your case.
The most important people at a Chapter 7 creditors meeting will be you, your bankruptcy lawyer in Montgomery County, TX if you have retained one and the bankruptcy trustee who is overseeing your case. You generally won’t see a judge during a bankruptcy case, although it’s possible.
Creditors are invited to attend, but often don’t show up—there isn’t much time for them to question you during the hearing, so for most debtors, sending a creditor’s attorney to appear is not a good use of their time. One exception may be if they believe you are hiding assets or are otherwise committing bankruptcy fraud.
What Happens at the Meeting?
At the creditors meeting, you’ll be testifying under oath to the trustee. They will ask you a series of questions about your documentation and assets. With Chapter 7 bankruptcy, trustees are allowed to sell any non-exempt assets you own in order to help pay your debt, so you should expect questions about your property. Your attorney should be able to give you an overview of what they expect you’ll be asked. A good bankruptcy lawyer will also attempt to resolve any outstanding issues before the hearing.
If your creditors do decide to show up, they are also allowed to examine you under oath. Sometimes creditors for secured debt, such as car loans, will send their own lawyer to appear. This typically will not be a long examination, as the time is limited, but they can ask you about the nature and extent of your assets. Creditors usually show up when they’re considering filing an action against you for attempting to discharge the debt. Bear in mind that since you are testifying under oath, you’re under a legal obligation to tell the truth, and there are penalties for perjury. Consult a bankruptcy lawyer in Montgomery County, TX if you have specific concerns or questions.
After your meeting, your trustee will either conclude the hearing, meaning they require no further information, or they will ask for further information. This could mean that they need additional documentation or wish to allow a creditor to examine you more fully. An additional creditors examination requires another meeting, but you may simply be able to turn over documentation without scheduling another 341 hearing. Either way, your attorney will be able to advise you as to what to expect.
Do you need a bankruptcy lawyer in Montgomery County, TX? Contact James R. Jones, Attorney at Law today for a consultation.