The 341 meeting of creditors is a mandatory part of the bankruptcy process. For most people, it’s routine. The creditors don’t show up, the trustee verifies the information on your bankruptcy filing document, you go home, and your bankruptcy case proceeds as it’s meant to.
Every now and then, something goes wrong. Sometimes, 341 meetings go wrong because the borrower makes a big mistake somewhere along the line.
#1) Showing Up Unprepared
Make sure you’ve done the following:
- If any information has changed, such as your address or your job, inform the courts as far in advance of the meeting as possible
- Located and brought your up-to-date driver’s license and social security card
- Reviewed your bankruptcy documents one more time so you know exactly what your assets are worth
- Asked your lawyer any questions you have about the meeting
- Laid out nice (but not overly expensive) clothing to wear
- Tell anyone who might want to get in touch with you that you’ll be unavailable at meeting time so you can turn your cell phone off for the entire meeting
While your attorney will be with you at the meeting, you must answer certain questions yourself. You will need to answer them clearly, confidently, and articulately.
#2) Panicking Because Creditors Show Up
Creditors rarely show up at 341 hearings, but they always have the option, and they get to ask you questions.
The presence of a creditor doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being accused of anything or that something has gone wrong. Be calm, answer their questions truthfully, and let your lawyer advise and guide you through the process.
#3) Volunteering Information
Answer only the question that is asked, and volunteer no more information. Make sure you understand the question thoroughly before answering it.
This is just good practice whenever you’re involved in any legal matter.
Volunteering information also covers avoiding comments and jokes. Lots of people try to joke around when they’re nervous, but jokes can backfire. Your comments may anger the trustee and give away more information than you mean to give away. Be polite, be brief, and be serious.
#4) Lying About Anything
Lying can mean getting charged with bankruptcy fraud, which is a federal crime. You may also be charged with perjury. And trustees are trained to spot lies.
You should be honest in your bankruptcy documentation and verbal answers to the trustee. Don’t lie by omission either; we advise you to play your info close to your chest, but we still advise you to be truthful as you do.
Get Help Today
The 341 hearing is just one of the many steps to take in a bankruptcy case. If you want your case to succeed, you’ll need a qualified bankruptcy attorney.
Contact Haysom Law if you are ready to take control of your financial future. We can help.
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