What to Expect at a Bankruptcy Meeting of Creditors (aka 341 Meeting)
A 341 meeting is something that debtors filings for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in any state will face. It is a meeting that occurs with you, your spouse if they are also filing, your attorney and an attorney appointed by the court to review your case (aka trustee). It is crucial to understand that the trustee is not a judge but an attorney like the one you have hired for your bankruptcy. The trustee’s job is to ask questions about your bankruptcy that you answer while under oath. This meeting is designed for creditors to have a forum to challenge the discharge of your debts. They are welcome to come to the meeting but most often there will not be any creditors present for your meeting.
You may be wondering what type of questions the trustee will ask of you and how you are to respond. The trustee will begin by asking simple questions such as your name, address and if the signature on the filings forms is your signature. The trustee will then move on to ask questions such as when did you buy your home, how much you purchased it for, and if you are current on your mortgage payments. The trustee may also ask if there were improvements made to your home and how much you paid for the improvements to be completed. The trustee will proceed to inquire about what other land you own and its worth as well as if you ever tried to sell it and at the price at which you listed it. Motor vehicles are often the next subject of questions for trustees. The price you bought your car for, its current condition, and if you are current on payments on a car that has not been fully paid off will be the nature of the questions asked. The trustee will ask if you had any bonds, safes, casino chips on the date of filing. The trustee also asks if you have gotten any money from someone who has passed away in the last six months and informs you that if you do in the six months after filing the bankruptcy you must notify your attorney and the trustee. The trustee may ask how your financial situation has deteriorated and be sure to calmly and clearly explain your situation. A trustee may ask more detailed questions on any matter for each bankruptcy is different.
These questions are quite simple and if time is needed for you to mentally collect the information it is recommended that you do for a correct answer after a second if preferred over a babbling response that confuses the trustee and yourself. If you need the trustee to clarify what they mean by their question feel free to ask them so for you are under oath to speak the truth and an incorrect answer due to uncertainty can harm your case. Your attorney will be present so if you have any doubts you can ask them for assistance for they are familiar with your case. You should not answer these questions with answers beyond yes or no for offering more information on the questions will not help your case but will most likely harm it. If the trustee does not require an elaboration do not offer one. Debtors often make the mistake of offering too much information about their case which can lead a trustee to believe that you have more money in your assets than you truly do which can lead to your debts not being discharged.
Debtors must have a government issued photo identification and proof of their social security card. Most importantly debtors must relax for their own nerves will make this short meeting seem like an interrogation.
Contact the Law Offices of Gregg W. Wagman at:
216 Broad Street
New London, CT 06320
Serving the Eastern Connecticut region including the Northeastern towns of Thompson, Putnam,
Brooklyn, Colchester, Willimantic, Marlborough, Lebanon and Plainfield and the Southeastern towns of Old Saybrook, Old Lyme,East Lyme,Waterford, New London, Groton, Salem, Ledyard, Montville, Mystic, Norwich, Voluntown, Preston, Stonington, North Stonington and New London