When you file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, you will be required to appear at a 341 Meeting of Creditors. It is called a 341 Meeting or 341 Hearing because Section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code requires each debtor to personally appear and submit to an examination under oath. At your 341 hearing you will appear before the trustee assigned to your case and answer some questions under oath. The purpose of the questions is so that the Trustee can verify the information in your bankruptcy petition and schedules and the supporting documents you provide to your trustee.
Who is the Trustee?
The Trustee is like the referee of your case. The Trustee is appointed by the US Department of Justice to oversee your case. The Trustee’s job is to review your bankruptcy paperwork and supporting documents to ensure your case complies with the requirements of the bankruptcy code. In a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, the Trustee will collect “non-exempt” assets, liquidate them, and disburse the proceeds to your unsecured creditors. In a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, the Trustee collects the monthly plan payment and disburses the funds to your creditors. In either chapter, the Trustee makes sure your unsecured creditors receive what they are entitled to under the bankruptcy code and that you are not committing fraud.
Documents to Provide to the Trustee
Prior to your hearing, you or your attorney must provide your Trustee with documentation supporting your bankruptcy petition. Trustees typically require you to complete a questionnaire and provide your last 2 years of federal and state tax returns, six months of bank statements for all financial accounts, 3-6 months of paystubs, divorce decree, vehicle registration and proof of insurance. Each Trustee has his or her own procedure, so be sure to review the questionnaire and document request the Trustee sends you.
All Trustees require documentation from each debtor. Do not be the person who shows up at the 341 Hearing claiming they did not know they had to provide anything or did not receive the Trustee’s letter. Be proactive. Follow up with your attorney or the Trustee’s office if you are not represented. Trustee’s typically require that all documents be submitted to them at least a week prior to your 341 Hearing.
Typical Questions at a 341 Hearing
At the hearing, the Trustee will place you under oath, review your photo ID and proof of social security number, and then ask you some general questions about your case. Some typical questions that a Trustee will ask are:
Have you filed a bankruptcy in the past?
Have you ever filed a bankruptcy case using a different social security number than the one in this case?
Did you provide your attorney with the information and documentation necessary to complete your petition and schedules?
Did you review and sign your petition, schedules, and statement of financial affairs?
Is the information contained in your petition, schedules, and statement of financial affairs true and correct to the best of your knowledge?
Are there any changes you need to bring to my attention?
Do you expect to be the beneficiary under a will, trust, inheritance, or life insurance policy in the next six months?
Have you ever given up the right to receive any such benefit in the last six years?
Have you repaid any loans to family members or friends in the last two years?
The Trustee may also have some specific questions about your petition or supporting documents. For example, the Trustee may ask about a specific bank withdraw, deposit or property transfer. After the Trustee has finished, he or she will ask if there are any creditors present. Creditors rarely appear, but if they do, they are permitted to as some general questions about your case.
Remember that you are under oath. Answer all questions truthfully. If there was something you forgot to list in your petition and schedules, the 341 Hearing is the time to disclose it.
Documents to Bring to Your 341 Hearing
First and foremost, be sure to bring your government issued photo ID and proof of social security number. A driver’s license and social security card are sufficient. A passport and W-2 will also work. A copy of your tax returns is not sufficient proof of your social security number.
You should also bring any other documents requested by the Trustee that you have not already provided. Again, be proactive and get the required documents to the Trustee. Your failure to get the required documents to your Trustee can result in the dismissal of your case or the revocation of your discharge.
Contact a Bankruptcy Attorney in Litchfield Park, Arizona
A Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help you get a fresh start and take control of your financial future. However, each is a complex process, and it is best to use the services of an attorney to ensure you get the best outcome possible.
At Treguboff Law, PLC we have the experience necessary to guide you through the challenges of getting out of debt and getting a fresh start. Call 623-680-6504 today or contact us on the web at www.tregerlaw.com for a free consultation.