A few weeks after you file for bankruptcy, the court will set a date for the meeting of creditors. You must appear at this hearing, as section 341 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code makes attendance mandatory. If you fail to show up, your case may be dismissed.
The bankruptcy meeting of creditors, or 341 hearing, may seem a little scary, but it’s really not a cause for concern. To find out what to expect, read on.
You’ll Talk to a Bankruptcy Trustee – Not a Judge
Your meeting of creditors will not take place in a courtroom, with a judge presiding. The hearing will take place in a meeting room, led by a bankruptcy trustee.
After swearing you in, the trustee will ask you a series of routine questions to confirm the information provided in your bankruptcy petition. The trustee may also need you to clarify certain details in your paperwork or provide further information about particular assets and debts. Your bankruptcy attorney can fill you in on the questions to expect.
You Don’t Have to Confront to Your Creditors
At a meeting of creditors, you might expect to sit in a room filled with your bill collectors and their lawyers. In reality, the only people in attendance will likely be you, your bankruptcy attorney and the trustee – creditors rarely appear at 341 hearings.
Creditors typically don’t attend because the cost of doing so usually outweighs the benefits. And, if a creditor objects to your bankruptcy discharge, they can file a motion with the court without appearing at the hearing.
In the unlikely event that one of your creditors comes to the 341 hearing, your bankruptcy attorney can help you field their questions. Don’t worry about the meeting getting confrontational – creditors can typically only ask for facts about your finances and assets.
You’ll Be One Step Closer to Bankruptcy Discharge
Getting through the meeting of creditors puts you further down the path toward getting a bankruptcy discharge, but the 341 hearing is not the end of your case.
Your creditors have 60 days from the date of the meeting to file an objection to your discharge. Objections rarely occur, but new debts or charges incurred shortly before filing for bankruptcy may be challenged.
In addition, to get a discharge, you must complete a debtor education course within 60 days of your bankruptcy meeting of creditors. This course, which is designed to teach personal financial management skills, is mandated by the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA). Fail to take the course in the required time frame, and your case could end without a discharge.
Do you have questions about the bankruptcy meeting of creditors? The Law Office of Davis & Jones, serving the greater Salt Lake City metropolitan area and the surrounding northern Utah communities, can provide expert answers backed by a combined 40 years of experience.
The bankruptcy attorneys at the Law Office of Davis & Jones can guide your case from start to finish, helping you achieve the best possible legal outcome – discharge of your debts. For more information on the meeting of creditors, or to schedule a free bankruptcy consultation, contact our Salt Lake City office today.