In an Oklahoma bankruptcy, in which the trustee has not filed an objection, most debtors have only one court appearance requiring their appearance. This hearing is the 341(a) Hearing or the “Meeting of the Creditors.”
What is the 341 Meeting of Creditors and what happens there?
Approximately a month after filing your Chapter 7, you attend a 341 Meeting. The name refers to section 341 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. Technically, the meeting is meant as a meeting with you and your creditors. However, creditors rarely show up for the 341 Meeting. Typically it is you, your attorney and the United States Trustee on your case. This trustee is the one who reviews your bankruptcy paper-work. The trustee essentially acts as a representative of your creditors in the bankruptcy proceedings. If the trustee determines that there is money available from you to distribute to the creditors he/she will collect that money and distribute it according to the creditor’s priority.
However, the creditor need not be present and probably will not be. The trustee will record the meeting. The trustee will ask for your driver’s license and social security card to compare against your paper-work. At the meeting, a trustee will swear you in and ask you several questions. These questions will typically be limited to questions about assets or whether all the creditors are listed in your schedules. However, if the trustee so desires, he/she can ask you anything pertaining to your bankruptcy.
The hearing is typically held in about fifty (50) days after the bankruptcy petition is filed and a case number is assigned. The person(s) filing the bankruptcy must appear at the meeting of the creditors or risk dismissal of their bankruptcy petition. In every Oklahoma bankruptcy case filed by the bankruptcy attorneys at the Kania Law Office, one of our Oklahoma attorneys will attend the hearing with our client.
Unlike most Court hearings, the meeting of the creditors is not in a traditional courtroom and will not have a judge. Rather, the 341 hearing is generally held at the Federal court house in a special room set aside for the purpose of the meeting of the creditors. Moreover, a bankruptcy trustee presides over the hearing. This trustee is normally a specially appointed attorney employed by the bankruptcy court for the purpose of administering bankruptcy cases.
Among other reasons, the hearing occurs so that the trustee has the chance to meet with the debtor(s) and ask them particular questions pertaining to their petition. Furthermore, the trustee will verify that the signatures found in the filed petition match those on the bankruptcy petition. Additionally this hearing is a chance for the trustee in your case to place the debtor(s) under oath and to require them to swear or affirm that the information in the petition is true and correct under penalty of law.
Sample Questions to Expect at a 341 Hearing
A debtors at a 341 hearing (Meeting of the Creditors) should expect similar questions to:
- To present a copy of your social security card and drivers license.
- The debtor(s) name and current address.
- If it is the debtor(s) actual signature as found on the petition.
- If the debtors’ attorney showed the debtor(s) a copy of the bankruptcy information sheet.
- Whether there a court ordered domestic support payment (alimony or child support order) in place for which the debtor(s) must make payments.
- If the debtor(s) own a vehicle or home and if so to provide a copy of the title/deed.
- Whether the petition contain all of the debts.
- Does the petition contain all of the assets.
- Whether the debtor(s) have you previously filed for bankruptcy.
- Is the debtor(s) expecting a tax return.
- Whether the debtor(s) have transferred away any property within the year preceding the bankruptcy filing.
- When and for what purpose the debtor(s) have used their credit cards.
- Whether anyone owes the debtor(s) any money and if so who, how much, and why.
Don’t Fear The Meeting of The Creditors.
Once you file your bankruptcy case your meeting of the creditors automatically schedules. Our attorneys attend this meeting with you and it normally takes five or less minutes, and after which your bankruptcy case is ready to close.
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