Testifying at a Bankruptcy Hearing – 341 Meeting of Creditors
One of the most intimidating aspects of filing for bankruptcy is having to participate in the legal meetings that accompany the process. The 341 Meeting of Creditors is a primary example of this.
If you are dreading your upcoming bankruptcy hearing with your creditors, you are not alone. Nearly every filer wishes it didn’t need to happen and most of them would try to get out of it if they could.
The good news is your bankruptcy lawyer will be with you during the meeting and for most people, there’s nothing to worry about. The meeting is quick and simple, and you’re left with nothing but relief once it’s over.
Of course, if you let your imagination get the best of you, you’ll likely dread the meeting. Filers imagine they’ll be interrogated during their meeting and they’ll walk away feeling judged, attacked, and belittled.
In reality, most 341 Meetings are boring and there’s nothing to worry about.
How Can You Feel Better About Your Upcoming Bankruptcy Hearing?
The best thing you can do is speak to your bankruptcy lawyer. He or she will explain the process to you and give you a description of what will be discussed during the meeting.
It’s also important that you prepare in advance for your meeting. There’s nothing to be scared of, but it is a good idea to know what’s coming and know how to answer any questions you’ll likely be asked.
341 Meetings are very similar, but each one is slightly different because every bankruptcy case is slightly different. Listen carefully to any questions you are asked by the trustee and be sure you understand the question before answering. No matter how prepared you might be, don’t make any assumptions about the questions you’re being asked.
It’s also important to be honest with your answers. Honestly disclosing information is an essential part of successfully filing for bankruptcy. It’s also important to understand that you are under oath when answering questions in your 341 Meeting, so any dishonesty is legal perjury. It can result in penalties and cause your case to be thrown out.
Bankruptcy fraud, even if it’s unintentional, can get you into a lot of trouble. To learn more, check out this information from Nolo.com.
Keep your answers brief. Be honest, but don’t ramble or try to justify your answers. If any additional information is needed once you answer a question the trustee will follow up. Nobody attending the meeting needs to hear a long, drawn-out story about everything that led to your bankruptcy. They just want brief, factual answers so they can move your case forward.
Finally, make sure you aren’t guessing or giving answers you aren’t 100 percent confident you know. It’s better to respond that you don’t know an answer than it is to make something up so you don’t look foolish.
Planning for Your Meeting
The best thing you can do to ensure your bankruptcy hearing goes well is to provide all requested documents to your attorney in advance and to speak openly and honestly with your attorney about your case. This way the majority of issues will be cleared up before the meeting even takes place.
If you’d like to know more about what happens at a bankruptcy hearing or you’re ready to get started with the bankruptcy filing process, we can help. Contact the Law Office of Robert M. Geller at (813) 254-5696 to schedule a consultation.