Bankruptcy allows individuals and businesses the opportunity to have a fresh start when they have more debt than they can pay. Bankruptcy cases are always federal cases and are never filed in state court. Learning about the basics of a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy can help you understand your rights and what the process of bankruptcy entails. One of the most important parts of the bankruptcy process is the 341 Hearing, also known as the Meeting of Creditors.
What is the 341 Hearing/Meeting of Creditors?
The 341 hearing is a meeting of creditors with the debtor and the bankruptcy trustee. The 11 U.S.C. Section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code, requires that this meeting be held, and this is why it is called a 341 hearing. Approximately 30 days after you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the assigned bankruptcy trustee will hold a meeting of creditors. Every debtor and every person or business listed as a creditor will receive a formal notice of this meeting and be allowed to attend. While they are not required to attend, this allows these creditors to question the debtor under oath.
What Happens Before a 341 Hearing?
After a debtor has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a trustee will be assigned and immediately start reviewing all paperwork for accuracy and verifying all information provided. Bankruptcy trustees are trained to look for any bankruptcy fraud and determine if there is any property that is nonexempt that may be able to be sold for creditors.
What Documents are Needed at the 341 Hearing?
A debtor needs to bring all standard documents, called 521 documents, which include tax returns, paycheck stubs, and bank statements. Your bankruptcy trustee may also request that you bring proof of insurance, car titles, mortgage paperwork, vehicle loan paperwork, real estate deeds, marital divorce decrees, marital settlement agreements, and any other applicable court orders. A debtor will also need to bring their driver’s license, and proof of social security number to the 341 hearing.
What Happens at a 341 Hearing?
The parties present at the 341 hearing include the bankruptcy trustee, the debtor, the debtor’s attorney if applicable, and any creditor that wishes to question the debtor. The bankruptcy trustee will verify the debtor’s identity and verify that the information provided to the court by the debtor is accurate. The bankruptcy trustee may also ask about tax returns. Creditors are allowed to ask questions about your income and property as well.
If secured creditors are present at the 341 hearing, they may ask the debtor about the status of the property that is secured, if it is insured, and if there is any intention to sell the property.
Contact an Experienced Bankruptcy Attorney Today
If you have filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you have likely made the first step toward a better financial future. The bankruptcy process can be intimidating, and bankruptcy laws are ever-changing and complex. Contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney at Charlton & Glover today at 770-993-1005 or online for a free consultation and to help you understand your rights.