What Happens at the 341(a) First Meeting of Creditors?

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A few weeks after your bankruptcy is filed, you will attend a hearing called the 341(a) Meeting of Creditors. Your 341 meeting is conducted by a federal court trustee who will ask you questions regarding your debts, assets, claims, and property.

For many people, this hearing can be a nerve-wracking prospect. It doesn’t have to be — the key is knowing what to expect. In this article, we’ll talk about what happens at your 341(a) meeting of creditors, and how you can prepare yourself.

What to Expect at Your 341(a) Meeting of Creditors

You can expect to answer some questions about your financial situation. There are no embarrassing or trick questions. If you’re working with OlsenDaines, your attorney will be present at the hearing to represent you. Although your attorney can’t answer the questions for you, they are there to help guide you and make sure all matters are resolved.

Preparing for Your 341(a) Meeting

Knowing what to expect and how to prepare for a 341 meeting will help it go a lot smoother, and that means a lot less stress and anxiety for you. Depending on whether you’re filing for Chapter 7, Chapter 13, or another type, your attorney will discuss any specific information you need to know for your case.

Here are some general tips we like to suggest to all of our clients:

  • You’ll want to arrive to the hearing 30 minutes early, so you can listen to hearings prior to yours. This is very important as the questions are the same and you can think about how you will answer the same questions.
  • At the beginning of the interview, you’ll be sworn in under oath to testify to the truth. Honor that oath — there’s nothing to gain by not telling the full truth.
  • Most of the questions asked can be answered yes or no. If that’s all the question calls for, you don’t have to add extra detail.
  • Please make sure you let the trustee know if you don’t understand the question or if it needs to be repeated.

Commonly Asked Questions During a 341(a) Meeting

It’s not a mystery what they’ll ask about during the meeting – they want detailed information about your finances so they can work out a resolution that’s in the best interests of every party involved. With that in mind, be prepared to answer questions like these:

  • Do you have any right or claims to inheritance proceeds within the next six months?
  • Do you have any claims against third parties where you could sue someone, like a personal injury claim resulting from a motor vehicle accident?
  • Have you paid back any family members more than $600.00 in the year before filing your bankruptcy?
  • Have you transferred or gifted any property to friends or relatives in the past four years?
  • You also may be asked what you believe your home or vehicles are worth and how you determine their value

What Does a 341(a) Meeting of Creditors Look Like?

Sometimes, being able to visualize the proceeding makes all the difference. Check out this video of a sample proceeding:

Are 341(a) Meetings Conducted via Zoom?

During the Covid era, courts began holding 341(a) meetings via Zoom.  Contact your bankruptcy attorney for more information about that, or if you’re not currently working with a bankruptcy attorney, feel free to contact us.

Here are some tips for getting ready for a 341(a) meeting via Zoom:

  • Before joining the Zoom session, verify that your Zoom name is the same as it appears on your bankruptcy petition. If you have used Zoom in the past, your prior name may appear. If their Zoom name is “Josh’s Mom,” the trustee will not know that it’s Cecilia Smith.
  • You should down the Zoom app prior to your hearings.  The connection is much better if you have the app downloaded to your device rather than trying to access Zoom through your web browser. In some instances, the Trustee will adjourn the meeting to another date if the quality of the call is not good enough.
  • Your attorney will inform you of anything you need to submit to the trustee beforehand like copies of photo identification and proof of social security number. Personally identifiable information cannot be shared during the meeting as it cannot be verified on camera.
  • During the meeting, you must have a readily available copy of filed schedules and your statement of financial affairs, along with any other documents requested by and provided to the trustee. You will also need to have your identification documentation with you.
  • During the meeting, you are not allowed to communicate with any person on the subject of your testimony, by electronic means or otherwise.
  • You should avoid disclosing personally identifiable information during the 341 meeting. If you need to share a document on camera during the meeting, make sure it does not include any personally identifiable information. 

Additional Info About 341(a) Zoom Meetings

Here are some additional documents provided by the U.S. Department of Justice:

Have Questions About Your 341(a) First Meetings of Creditors?

The 341(a) meeting of creditors takes only about 10 minutes, but it is an important part of the bankruptcy process, and you receiving a fresh start from your debts. 

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the 341(a) meeting of creditors or if you have any other questions on your case, give the bankruptcy experts at OlsenDaines a call. We are here to help you to get a fresh start.

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