Within a month of filing for bankruptcy, you'll usually need to attend a 341 meeting of creditors. It's required, so you have to be there. If you don't show up, the trustee - the court-appointed official who oversees the details of your bankruptcy - can dismiss your case. However, this meeting sounds a lot worse than it actually is. In fact, it's usually a very simple procedure.
Your Bankruptcy Trustee Can Ask You Questions
First, the trustee will swear you in, so everything you say is under oath, and you have to be honest. Next, the trustee will ask you a few questions about your case. These questions usually just confirm what you've already said in your bankruptcy petition. Bankruptcy law requires the trustee to ask these questions. A few might be tricky, such as if you've transferred or sold any property recently. If you have, you'll have to explain the circumstances. Your attorney will work with you before the meeting so you'll know how best to answer.
Your Creditors Can Ask You Questions
Your creditors may also want to ask you some questions. They might want more information about your income or what happened to make you decide to file for bankruptcy. However, they can't really do anything at a 341 hearing to stop your bankruptcy from moving forward. It's just a fact-finding mission.
A Creditor's Meeting May Not Involve Creditors
Your creditors probably won't all show up to ask you questions, so you don't have to worry about facing a panel grilling you for information about your finances. In all likelihood, none of your creditors will show up at all. It's usually not worth their time or effort, because the trustee will probably ask the same questions they would. Bankruptcy law doesn't require them to appear at 341 meetings.
The Bankruptcy Trustee Can Ask for Additional Documents
After questioning you, your bankruptcy trustee will probably want to review your file to make sure you supplied all the necessary paperwork when you filed your petition. If you left anything out, the trustee will let you know and give you some time to locate the missing information and submit it. You might have to promise, under oath, to do this. Also, you'll probably have to show a photo ID and your Social Security card to prove that you are who you say you are.
A Personal Bankruptcy Lawyer Can Help
The law surrounding 341 personal bankruptcy hearings is complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. For more detailed, specific information, please contact a bankruptcy lawyer.