What to expect after filing for Bankruptcy
Soon after you file your Bankruptcy, the court will schedule a 341 Meeting, aka the “meeting of creditors.” It has to take place at least 21 days after you file, but no later than 40 days after you file for bankruptcy. You must attend this meeting during the assigned date and time or your bankruptcy case can be dismissed.
Information about the Section 341 Meeting of Creditors
The 341 meeting is held by conference call, with a toll free number and attendee pin provided by the Trustee. There will be several people on the phone, including the Trustee’s office, other debtors who have filed bankruptcy, other attorneys, and potentially parties in interest to your bankruptcy case such as creditors. However, creditors rarely show up – especially if they are a creditor familiar with the bankruptcy process.
Who Attends the Meeting?
Your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy Trustee (or one of their staff members) will be there and will be the person conducting the meeting. There will not be a Judge present. Creditors will be notified of your creditor meeting but usually they will not show up for a 341 Meeting because they are not required to attend. There are some circumstances where creditors may choose to attend if they would like the opportunity to ask you questions. For example, if one of your creditors has an interest in a car that you are giving back, they may call in to ask questions about the location or condition of the property.
Arkansas Bankruptcy and the Role of a Trustee
What Should You do to Prepare for the Meeting?
If your attorney requests documents before the creditor meeting, make sure you get those submitted at least one week before the scheduled creditor meeting. These documents include an electronic or scanned copy of your photo ID (usually driver’s license), your Social Security card or other government document containing your Social Security number (W-2s, tax returns, Military ID), and tax returns. Other documents that may be required include the following:
- Personal property tax assessment
- Pay stubs for the last 90 days
- Mortgage statement
- Bank statements
- Electronic account (CashApp, Venmo) statements
- Vehicle registration and insurance
If any documents are missing on the date of the creditor meeting, the 341 Meeting cannot be fully conducted and the Trustee will reschedule the meeting to a later date.
What Questions Will be Asked at the Meeting?
Prior to asking questions of individual debtors, the Trustee will make general announcements, including:
- Keep your phone on mute until your case is called
- If filing jointly, both debtors must respond to each question
- If you change addresses or jobs, you will need to notify your attorney
- Any property inherited should be disclosed to your attorney
Before the meeting the trustee will have reviewed your paperwork, income, debts, expenses, tax returns, and paystubs. The Trustee’s role is to ensure that (ii) your paperwork is accurate; (ii) there is no fraudulent or misrepresented information; and (iii) your property and finances are properly completed.
The required statements and questions asked by the Trustee are as follows:
- State your name for the record. Is the address on the petition your current address?
- Did you sign the petition, schedules, statements, and related documents and is the signature your own? Did you read the petition, schedules, statements, and related documents before you signed them?
- Are you personally familiar with the information contained in the petition, schedules, statements and related documents? To the best of your knowledge, is the information contained in the petition, schedules, statements, and related documents true and correct? Are there any errors or omissions to bring to my attention at this time?
- Are all of your assets identified on the schedules? Have you listed all of your creditors on the schedules?
- Have you previously filed bankruptcy?
- What is the address of your current employer?
- Is the copy of the tax return you provided a true copy of the most recent tax return you filed?
- Do you have a domestic support obligation? To whom? Please provide to me the claimant’s address and telephone number, but do not state it on the record.
- Have you read the Bankruptcy Information Sheet provided by the United States Trustee?
Other possible statements and questions asked by the Trustee are as follows:
- Have you made any transfers of any property or given any property away within the last one year period ?
- Do you have a claim against anyone or any business?
- Are you the plaintiff in any lawsuit? What is the status of each case and who is representing you?
- Are you the owner of any cash value life insurance policies?
- Are you entitled to life insurance proceeds or an inheritance as a result of someone’s death?
- Does anyone hold property belonging to you? If yes: Who holds the property and what is it? What is its value?
- Real estate questions: When did you purchase the property? How much did the property cost? What are the mortgages encumbering it? What do you estimate the present value of the property to be?
Remember that you will under oath so you must answer all questions truthfully or you may be subject to perjury charges.
What Occurs After the Meeting?
The hearing could be continued at a later date for the following reasons:
- You need to provide more information to the trustee
- You are missing required documents
- You must amend your paperwork
Any requirements about additional information will be communicated to you by our bankruptcy team.
You must also complete the required debtor-education course before your debts can be discharged. This should be completed as soon as possible so you can complete your bankruptcy case. As long as your creditors do not object to the discharge of your debts, you will receive your discharge order approximately 90 days after the meeting of creditors.
If you have questions about the creditor meeting(or bankruptcy in general), we will be happy to chat. Feel free to contact us.