Archive for May, 2011

Wichita Bankruptcy Law Firm Explains What a 341 Meeting of Creditors is?

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

If you decide to file for bankruptcy, either Chapter 7 or 13, one of the first things you will be required to do after filing is to have a meeting with the bankruptcy trustee. This is known as a 341 Meeting of Creditors.  The 341 Meeting usually is scheduled shortly after you file your bankruptcy petition. It is not like going to court since a judge will not be present.  The purpose of the 341 meeting is generally for you, your creditors, and the bankruptcy trustee to get an understanding of your financial situation, payment intentions and potential issues involving your bankruptcy.  The name is somewhat of a misnomer because creditors rarely appear at the 341 Meeting in a consumer bankruptcy with the exception of a mortgage holder or occasionally a representative from your car finance company.  If you have an experienced Kansas bankruptcy attorney, your attorney will appear at the hearing with you.  The hearing is a semi-formal proceeding with a court reporter but is much less formal than a courtroom hearing.

During the 341 Meeting, the bankruptcy trustee will ask you some basic questions that you must answer.  The questions are not difficult.  Common examples of questions that you will be asked include information about your name, social security number and sometimes questions about the asset or debt information in your bankruptcy petition.  It is important that you bring all the required documents and identification listed on the bankruptcy information sheet, such as your driver’s license and social security card.  If you have not already done so, you will need to provide your federal tax returns for the four years prior to the filing of your bankruptcy.  If you filed a Chapter 13, the bankruptcy trustee will make sure that everyone knows your payment schedule and plan payment.  The trustee will also discuss any concerns he or she may have about whether your income is sufficient to make plan payments.  For a Chapter 7, the terms of your bankruptcy will be reviewed.

Typically, creditors rarely appear at a 341 Meeting with the exception of secured creditors like your mortgage or car finance company.  This is why the meeting is usually just a few minutes. Creditors may appear in a 341 Meeting when they suspect that you have filed a fraudulent bankruptcy and want to challenge whether you have disclosed all assets or the actual value of those assets.  Creditors also may appear at a 341 Meeting if they believe that you have more money to pay back to your creditors than you are claiming.  The bankruptcy trustee may ask you to send additional documentation or correct errors in your initial filing. It is important that you comply with any such request. If you provide straightforward and candid answers, the 341 Meeting typically goes very smoothly.

For more information or to arrange legal representation at your 341 Meeting, you should contact an experienced Kansas bankruptcy attorney.  A bankruptcy lawyer can prepare you for your 341 Meeting and let you know more precisely what to expect.  The truth is that most of the work is done before the 341 Meeting because your Kansas bankruptcy attorney will typically have prepared the bankruptcy petitions and schedules accurately so the meeting goes smoothly and without significant incident.

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, our Kansas bankruptcy law firm can answer your questions and guide you through the bankruptcy process.  Call today for your initial consultation.