What is the 341 Meeting of Creditors? Do I need a bankruptcy attorney?
When you file for bankruptcy, be it Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, in the state of Arizona, you will be required to attend a meeting that your creditors are also invited to, known as a “341 Hearing.” The hearing is scheduled by the bankruptcy trustee and often occurs in a courthouse. It will involve the taking of recorded testimony under oath. For many, the thought of meeting with their creditors and providing testimony can be intimidating. Further, happenings in the meeting can impact your case. As such, it is recommended that bankruptcy filers obtain the representation of a licensed bankruptcy attorney to assist them through the 341 meeting.
The experienced bankruptcy attorneys at Ariano & Associates, PLLC, will eliminate all the stress from a 341 hearing, appearing as your advocate and adviser. Allow our skilled bankruptcy attorneys to guide you through the complex bankruptcy process, from the selection of a bankruptcy method, to the filing of the petition, attending of the creditor hearing, and the final resolution.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy 341 Hearings
Shortly after your Chapter 7 petition has been filed, your appointed bankruptcy trustee will set a date for a meeting of the creditors. This meeting is a requirement in the bankruptcy code. Under Section 341 of the code, all debtors must be examined under oath regarding the information contained in their schedules in order to be eligible to receive a discharge.
Additionally, the 341 hearing allows creditors an opportunity to ask you questions concerning your petition and schedules, and gives the trustee a chance to take sworn testimony from you concerning the same.
It is imperative you meet with a bankruptcy attorney during this important stage of the bankruptcy process to obtain advice as to which assets are exempt and how to accurately, as well as ethically, report your ability to repay your debts.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy 341 Hearings
Once you file for bankruptcy under Chapter 13, your bankruptcy trustee will schedule a 341 hearing to allow the trustee and your creditors an opportunity to question you concerning your debts, assets, finances, and plans for repayment. Unlike in a Chapter 7 341 meeting, a Chapter 13 hearing with the creditors will focus largely on your income, expenses, and the viable nature of your proposed repayment plan.
Having the assistance of a licensed bankruptcy attorney in a Chapter 13 341 hearing is equally important as in Chapter 7 meeting of the creditors. During the Chapter 13 hearing, the trustee and possibly the creditors will voice any objections or concerns about your repayment plan, which may impact your final proposal to the court.
The Actual 341 Hearing
When your name is called, you will provide the trustee with your driver’s license and social security card. You must then take an oath. Afterwards, you will be seated and questioned by the trustee. Your answers will be audio recorded. The questions asked will vary, but often include some of the following:
- Did you read, review, and sign the bankruptcy petition, schedules, and statement of financial affairs now before the court?
- Are there any amendments that need to be made?
- Have you previously filed for bankruptcy?
- Have you paid back a friend or family member in the past two years?
- Did you accurately list all of your assets?
- How long have you been employed?
- Do you owe anyone alimony or child support?
These are just some of the many questions possible. There will not be a judge in attendance at the hearing, and while it is open to creditors, often only the trustee and your attorney will be in attendance. Nonetheless, the hearing represents a critical stage of proceedings and should be approached with adequate preparation and the assistance of an attorney advocate.
Ariano & Associates, PLLC: Helping You Tackle the Important Meeting of the Creditors
At Ariano & Associates, PLLC, we provide zealous representation for our bankruptcy clients at all 341 hearings. Approach your meeting of the creditors without any stress or trepidation—the team of seasoned bankruptcy lawyers at Ariano & Associates, PLLC will be there to guide you every step of the way.