Bankruptcy Hearings

What is a Bankruptcy Hearing and Must I Appear?341(a) Meeting of Creditors?

Both chapter 7 and chapter 13 (and chapter 11 cases) have a mandatory 341(a) Meeting of Creditors which is administered by the Bankruptcy Trustee. This hearing is typically 30 days after the filing of your case. This is not a court meeting before a Judge, but rather an informal hearing held outside of the courtroom, typically in an office building designated by the Trustee.

For this meeting, the Trustee requires you to bring with you your driver’s license and social security card to verify your identity. If you do not have these with you, the Trustee will likely not meet with you. If you do not have these, the Trustee will still meet with you if you have acceptable alternatives to the proof of identity – for example, you may show a valid passport instead of your driver’s license and an original W-2 or State Medicare card which states your social security number instead of your Social Security card.

The Meeting itself takes just a few minutes, depending on your case. It is the Trustee’s opportunity to review your petition, make sure it is really you who provided the information and signed the petition under penalty of perjury and to determine whether there are any assets to be liquidated (in a chapter 7) or whether the plan you propose to reorganize your estate is feasible as to all creditors (in a chapter 13).

Confirmation Hearing

In a chapter 13 (and also in chapter 11 cases), the Court schedules a confirmation hearing. Depending on which Judge you get assigned to, this confirmation hearing may be a month or even sometimes a year after the 341(a) hearing. This is a separate meeting where your repayment plan becomes concrete and no longer just a proposed repayment plan.

It is important to note that until the case is confirmed, any parties involved may object to the plans terms as not being feasible. If such objections are filed by the Trustee or the creditors, then our office will work with the objecting party to resolve the objections to render your case feasible and ultimately confirmed.

In many cases, you will not have to personally attend this hearing if you have a lawyer. They will be able to represent you at the hearing and argue the terms and conditions on your behalf. If your plan is approved, the Judge will sign what is known as the Order Confirming Plan. A confirmation hearing has the potential to be very complicated and arduous, however, given the proper preparations, your case has the potential to be approved “on consent” by the Trustee, at which point no appearance may be required by the Trustee.

Given all the terms and requirements of a chapter 13, it is highly recommended that you work with an experienced bankruptcy attorney in preparing a chapter 7 & chapter 13 plan so you have a good chance of getting your case confirmed timely.

What to Bring to the Meeting of Creditors?

You must bring photo identification and proof of your Social Security number. Otherwise, the trustee will likely do one of the following things:

  • Move forward with questioning and have you present identification later (either at the trustee's office or another 341 meeting date).

  • Continue the entire meeting to another date.

Also, bring any documents you don't submit to the trustee in advance. Because the trustee will need time to review the new records, expect the 341 hearing to be continued. However, many trustees will cancel the continued appearance if everything appears in order and you provide any other documents the trustee asks for beforehand.

The Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustee Will Examine You Under Oath

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, 341 meetings occurred in person. However, meetings are being held virtually as of the time of writing, so unless the current social distancing requirements change, you'll attend online.

The trustee will examine you under oath after calling your case. Before your examination can begin, you'll provide your identification and proof of social security number to the trustee.

If you appear virtually, you'll likely forward copies of your identification to the trustee before the meeting. Otherwise, you'll present it to the trustee once you're seated at the meeting room table at the front of the room.

The Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee's role at the meeting of creditors is to verify the accuracy of the information disclosed in your bankruptcy papers. Since a Chapter 7 trustee is authorized to sell your "nonexempt assets" or the property you can't keep for the benefit of your creditors, most questions will involve your assets.

When the Chapter 7 trustee calls your matter, the trustee will begin by asking you a series of standard questions, such as whether:

  • you reviewed your petition before signing it

  • you listed everything that you own

  • anything has changed since filing your paperwork

  • you're owed any money for any reason

  • you expect to receive an inheritance

It's common for the trustee to ask questions particular to your case. Your attorney will probably be able to predict the areas of inquiry in advance and might attempt to resolve any issues before the meeting.

Concluding the Meeting of Creditors

The bankruptcy trustee "concludes" or ends the meeting if the trustee doesn't need any further information or documentation. You won't need to come to another hearing, and you'll receive your "discharge" or the order erasing qualifying debts after satisfying all other requirements.

However, if you forgot your identification, or the trustee or a creditor requires further information, the trustee will set another hearing date.

If you provide the requested documentation before the continued meeting date, the trustee might take the continued meeting off the calendar. But, if the trustee has more questions, you'll have to go to the next hearing.

©2023 | All Rights Reserved | Bankruptcy Law Group | Designed by Yapmedia

©2023 | All Rights Reserved | Bankruptcy Law Group | Designed by Yapmedia