Your Bankrupcty Hearing

The 341 Hearing/ Meeting of Creditors

The “341 Hearing” (a reference to the section of the Bankruptcy Code that requires the hearing), also sometimes called the Meeting of Creditors, takes place approximately 20-40 days after your case is filed. Here is some general information about what to expect at the hearing, broken down separately into Chapter 7 hearings and Chapter 13 hearings.

 

Chapter 7 Hearing

  • The hearing is conducted by the bankruptcy trustee who was assigned to your case.
  • You need to bring your driver’s license and social security card
  • You will be sworn in my the Trustee and asked questions like:

o      Did you provide the information in your petition to you attorney before his/her office prepared them?

o      Did you review the petition before you signed it?

o      Is it accurate to the best of your knowledge?

o      Do you know of any changes that need made to it?

o      Have you sold or given away any property in the last 4 years?

o      Are you entitled to any money from any source?  Does anyone owe you money? Do you have the right to sue anyone?

o      Have you given any amounts of money or property to friends or family members in the last year?

o      Are you court-ordered to pay child support or alimony?

  • Your attorney will show you your original signature on the petition and ask you to acknowledge that it is your signature.
  • You will be asked to verify that the amount of attorney’s fees listed in the petition is accurate.
  • The trustee will ask if your attorney reviewed the Bankruptcy Information Sheet with you. This is the form on yellow paper we went over with you at your initial consultation that describes the different chapters of bankruptcy.
  • This hearing typically lasts approximately 5-7 minutes.
  • You do not have to dress up – even jeans are okay.
  • In 99% of cases, this is the only hearing you will have to attend.
  • Numerous cases are scheduled each half hour and they call the cases as the attorneys arrive; if it is approaching your scheduled hearing time and you haven’t seen your attorney yet, don’t panic.

 

 

Chapter 13 Hearing

  • You will receive a mailing from the Bankruptcy Trustee prior to your hearing advising you of documents you need to bring to the hearing. (pay stubs, proof of car insurance, tax returns, etc.)
  • Prior to the start of the hearing, you will sit in on a 75-minute class put on by the Trustee’s staff, giving you general information about what to expect during the life of your Chapter 13 plan.
  • You will be put under oath before answering questions. It is recorded, so you must answer out loud, and, if a joint case, both husband and wife must answer every question out loud.
  • The Trustee will have you verify your signature on my copy of the petition.
  • The Trustee will have reviewed the Plan we submitted to the Court and may have a few questions regarding various things relating to the plan or your assets or income. All you have to do is answer the questions honestly. As long as you have answered all of our questions honestly leading up to the hearing, we will know your case and be prepared to address any issues that come up.
  • The hearing for a Chapter 13 case is primarily for the Trustee to point out to the attorney any issues the Trustee might have with the case or any changes he or she wants made to the plan.
  • In 99% of cases, this is the only hearing you will have to attend.
  • This hearing will last approximately 5 minutes.
  • You do not have to dress up for this – jeans are okay.
  • Don’t be overly nervous! Clients have repeatedly told us that this hearing was not anywhere near as “bad” as they thought it would be.

A few things to keep in mind during your hearing:

o      There are no “right” or “wrong” answers – just answer truthfully. As long as you have disclosed everything to us during your case, we are prepared and have talked to you about any potential issues we anticipate in your case. You get the facts out there and our job is to advocate for you and get you the best results possible.

o      If a “yes” or “no” question is asked, give a “yes” or “no” answer. Some people get very nervous at this hearing and become a blabbering mess. If the Trustee needs more than a short answer, he or she will ask you for more information. Your random comments will probably just send the hearing off on an irrelevant tangent and prolong your hearing.

o      The hearing is audio recorded, so you must answer every question out loud (ie, no silent nodding). Also, if your case is a joint filing (husband and wife), you must both answer every question out loud.

o      If you don’t understand a question, ask for clarification.

o      If the Trustee wants additional information from us, he or she may “continue” the hearing. This is just basically a deadline for us to get the requested information to the Trustee.

o      Creditors are able to come and question you briefly. Practically speaking, this almost never happens, and, if one does show up, they usually just ask a few simple questions.

 

If you are one of our clients, you will be well-prepared for this hearing. We will have advised you of any potential issues in your case and told you what will happen and what to expect. If you arrive a little bit early for your hearing, you can sit in on a few hearings before yours and get a feel for what to expect.

In closing, don’t lose sleep over this hearing. We repeatedly hear clients after the hearing saying, “That wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be!” Just be honest, brief, and audible.

 

 

The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 Requires the following notice: We are a Debt Relief Agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code. This web site is not an offer to provide bankruptcy assistance services to any assisted person as defined under Section 527(a)(2) of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005.