The Bankruptcy 341 Trustee Meeting
Have you recently filed for bankruptcy? If so, you will be required to attend a Court meeting, a hearing known as 341 Meeting of Creditors. This meeting is usually very brief and informal. During this meeting you will be required to answer some basic questions posed by the trustee. The meeting is not conducted in front of a judge, and your attorney can accompany you.
During the creditor’s meeting, the attorney can assist you and take note of the trustee’s request or any additional questions the trustee may pose. Although the meeting is pretty straightforward, it is possible to screw it up or make it more difficult than it has to be. Your ability to discharge your debts will be hindered if you mess up during the meeting, and you may be required to pay additional legal fees. This article is written for educational purposes and will state the common mistakes people make during their hearing.
In most cases, most of the bankruptcy hearings go off without a hitch. In majority of the cases, most people who file for bankruptcy always truthfully disclose the relevant information. People who file for bankruptcy are generally hard working but their unfortunate circumstances have led them to file for bankruptcy. It is very important to become aware of some guidelines that should be followed during your next bankruptcy hearing, and conduct that can derail your case, or cause other significant problems.
Conduct That Can Mess Up Your Bankruptcy Hearing
1. Talking Too Much: During your bankruptcy hearing you will be required to answer several questions. It is advised to listen to the question carefully, and answer the question truthfully. Any attempt to hide any relevant facts or an attempt to add new facts will result in problems. Let the trustee initiate the question. If he asks you something, then you can answer it using appropriate relevant facts. There is generally no reason to drone on with irrelevant explanations that do not directly address the questions asked.
2. Waiting for someone else to answer the Bankruptcy Trustee’s questions: It is advised to attend the meeting only with your attorney. Any attempt to bring someone else for moral support might not be in your best interest. If you have filed for the bankruptcy, you are the only one who should be present during the meeting to answer the trustee’s questions, and if you do not know the answer to a particular question, then be honest to the trustee and politely let her or him know. Although your attorney can speak with the Trustee and help you find the answer to a question in your documents provided, your attorney cannot answer the trustee’s questions on your behalf.
3. Being rude with the Bankruptcy Trustee: Many times, from experience, lots of people try to act smart and act like they know everything. If a trustee makes a remark that you do not agree with, then deal with it. Do not try to be disrespectful to the trustee, and always remember the trustee conducts the hearing, not you. You do not want to leave a trustee with a bad impression of you from a bankruptcy hearing.
4. Always tell the truth: This statement is common sense, however often times, the debtor is not likely to tell the truth, with the fear of something bad happening. Failure to tell the truth during the meeting will result in perjury. In complex bankruptcy cases, the truth will always eventually come out, and you do not want to viewed as dishonest as this will only delay your case or possible lead to it being dismissed.
5. Not paying attention and being distracted: The entire meeting should be taken very seriously. At the conclusion of the meeting, the trustee will have the authority to determine whether your debts should be discharged or not. Any possible distractions such as cellphones ringing can disrupt the meeting, which can possibly result in a reset / cancelled meeting. Additionally, do not bring your children during the meeting, nor any papers that won’t be relevant during the meeting.
6. Not being familiar with your bankruptcy petition: Prior to filing your bankruptcy petition, you hopefully got a chance to review it with your attorney. It is a good idea to review your petition prior to your meeting so the information is fresh in your mind. The trustee will ask you questions about your bankruptcy petition. Thus, you will be expected to know the answer to the questions when asked. An experienced bankruptcy attorney should be able to provide you with a list of questions relevant to your case that are likely to be asked. Link >>>
7. Driving an uninsured car to the hearing: If you plan on surrendering a vehicle in bankruptcy, it still needs to be insured. Only after the lender has obtained the vehicle should you cancel the insurance. You may be asked about this at the hearing, and you do not want to lie or appear irresponsible by driving an uninsured automobile.
8. Thinking the Bankruptcy Trustee is your lawyer: The trustee does not represent you and cannot give you any sort of legal advice. Don’t expect the trustee to answer any questions you may have, as those should be posed to your attorney after the hearing. As a matter of face, the trustee’s interests may totally opposed to yours.
9. Showing up late to your meeting with the Bankruptcy Trustee: Come to the meeting early. By coming early you will get an opportunity to meet with your attorney so that you will be prepared to answer the questions. Coming late will not help your case either. It will show the trustee that you are not reliable. Additionally, by arriving late, you will not be able to fully be present during the meeting. If you are signficnatly late, your hearing may be cancelled and rescheduled for a later date.
10. Failing to bring ID and relevant documents: Be sure to carry your drivers license, social security card, and other relevant information that you think may be necessary. Without proper form of identification, the trustee will likely not conduct the hearing, and it will likely be rescheduled until you can bring relevant documentation.
Times can get hard and sometimes we just cannot avoid filing for bankruptcy. It can be quite stressful time for those who file for bankruptcy. One can never be too sure whether the debts will get discharged or not. However, it is quite certain, that your debts will likely not get discharged if something goes wrong during the “Creditors Meeting.” Once you file bankruptcy, it is important to become familiarized with the ins and outs of “Creditors Meeting.” You do not have to go through this alone. We can advise you on your next steps and on what to expect during your meeting. It is very easy to mess up, and one small mistake during your bankruptcy hearing could cause you a lifetime. Therefore, it is highly advised to consult your local bankruptcy attorney today.
Our attorneys at Coleman Legal Group, LLC are experienced in helping clients like you with bankruptcy related matters. After you file for bankruptcy, and before you attend your meeting, contact us today at 770-609-1247 to discuss your case with us.