Bankruptcy 101: 5 Things to Prepare for Your Bankruptcy Meeting
Whether you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will have what is known as a Meeting of Creditors, or a 341 Hearing. This meeting is an important part of your bankruptcy case, and it allows the trustee and your creditors to review your assets and your debts. Essentially, this meeting will determine whether your bankruptcy petition will be granted or how your repayment plan will be structured.
Typically, no creditors actually show up to this meeting. However, the trustee will be there, and you will be required to show up and provide some documentation and answer some questions. Here are some things you will need to know or to do before this meeting:
Review Your Petition
Your bankruptcy petition outlines your assets and your debts, and the trustee will review it carefully. If you have made any mistakes on this document, it could be seen as an attempt to hide assets or to commit fraud. It is important that the petition is correct. Review it carefully before the meeting and make any changes that are necessary. You will need to file an amendment if you are making changes.
When the meeting starts, you should bring up any changes that were made as soon as possible. Don’t wait to be asked. Even if you have filed an amendment, keeping quiet can be seen as an attempt to be evasive.
Gather Your Documents
You will be required to show certain documentation during your Meeting of Creditors. Gather the following documents to bring with you:
- Photo identification, such as a driver’s license.
- Social Security card.
- Proof of income.
- Recent bank statements and other account statements (such as retirement or investment accounts).
- Bankruptcy papers.
Requested documentation to prove expenses under the means testYour trustee may also request additional documents. Make sure you understand from your lawyer exactly what you need to bring, and be prepared on the day of your meeting.
Bring Materials to Pass the Time
In most cases, your bankruptcy meeting will take about 10 to 20 minutes. However, you may have to wait quite a while until your meeting begins. The trustee will have a list of cases to hear, so your meeting might not begin right at the time you were given. It just depends on the logistics of the meetings that came before yours. Be prepared to keep yourself occupied with a book, some music, or some other diversion. Bring headphones for anything that makes noise, and bring a charger for any electronics.
Focus on the Truth
You will have to take an oath that you will tell the truth during your bankruptcy meeting. You may not be in a courtroom, but you will be engaging in a legal proceeding, and telling a lie under oath can lead to serious penalties. Go into the meeting preparing to tell the truth.
Prepare Answers to Common Questions
If you know the questions you will be asked at your bankruptcy hearing ahead of time, it can make it easier to provide the answers. You won’t feel flustered or put on the spot. Here are some of the common questions that are asked at these meetings:
- Have you transferred any property or personal goods in the last year?
- Is anyone holding onto property that belongs to you?
- Will you be getting a tax refund this year?
- Will you be getting a life insurance payout or inheritance this year?
- Will you be receiving property or other assets from a divorce this year?
- Does anyone owe you money?
- Do you have a claim to money from a business?
- Are you (or will you be) pursuing a claim for an accident?
- How did you come up with the value for your big ticket assets?
- Have you made any large payments to creditors, friends, or relatives recently?
These questions are designed to get a better picture of your finances. Answer these questions honestly and as thoroughly as you can. If you are caught lying, or if discrepancies are found in your testimony or documentation, it could destroy your bankruptcy claim and put you at risk of legal penalties.
The Meeting of Creditors is an important meeting, and you should be prepared, though you shouldn’t be nervous. Work with your bankruptcy attorney to know what to expect and how to respond. Once the meeting is over, you will be one step closer to getting the debt relief you need.
If you need a bankruptcy attorney, call My AZ Lawyers now. Our experienced attorneys can help you learn the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy so that you can choose the right option to get maximum debt relief. We’ll help you determine the right options for your circumstances and will then put together the right plan to get the relief you need quickly. Call us in Arizona today to talk with a bankruptcy attorney.
My AZ Lawyers
1731 West Baseline Rd., Suite #100
Mesa, AZ 85202
Office: (480) 448-9800
20325 N 51st Avenue Suite #134, Building 5
Glendale, AZ 85308
Office: (602) 509-0955
2 East Congress St., Suite #900-6A
Tucson, AZ 85701
Office: (520) 441-1450
12725 W. Indian School Rd., Ste E, #101
Avondale, AZ 85392
Office: (623) 399-4222