Have you filed bankruptcy or considering on filing, but intimidated about the bankruptcy 341 Meeting of Creditors and the questions you may be asked?
In this article were going to go over some of the questions, why these questions are being asked and why you shouldn’t lose sleep worrying about the 341 Meeting of Creditors. If you want more than just the basic questions that a bankruptcy Trustee will ask you, head on over to our blog that goes into much more detail about the 341 Meeting of Creditors what to expect, the location and some tips about what happens at a 341 Bankruptcy Meeting of Creditors: “What is the 341 meeting of creditors & what should I expect?”
Before we go any further, lets lay out where the 341 First Meeting of Creditors takes place during your bankruptcy filing. The name is somewhat misleading because 90% of the time no creditors attend, and there is no “Second” meeting. The Meeting is mandatory, and you are not able to successfully get your bankruptcy discharge without personally attending the 341 Meeting. The meeting usually occurs about 45 days into your Bankruptcy case. You must prove your identity by bringing your driver’s license and social security card. The Trustee will administer an oath and begin questions of you. It is critically important that all questions are answered truthfully, and you will be reminded that there is up to a $500,000.00 fine, 5 years imprisonment or both for any material misstatement or omission in your bankruptcy disclosures. The key to making sure you meeting goes smooth is to address everything in writing before the meeting
The process of bankruptcy normally goes something like this:
- You’re considering bankruptcy; maybe you have a load of debt, have garnishments, judgments, humongous medical bills, creditors harassing you, repossessions, and so on.
- You do some research online to seek out a qualified attorney to discuss your options before even considering filing bankruptcy. Our law firm offers FREE advice and consultations, other bankruptcy attorneys may also do the same. Hopefully you choose us, but if for some chance you don’t most of the information you read here will still work for you.
- You meet with this attorney to go over your issues. They may (as our law firm does) ask you to fill out a questionnaire about your debts. We use this information to determine the scope of debt you have compared to the amount of money that you bring in each month. That way, your attorney can provide you specific details to your specific situation and make a recommendation on what type of bankruptcy would be best for you or your business.
- If you’ve chosen to go through bankruptcy there will be several steps that will happen next.
- You’ll need to list all of your creditors for us. Our firm does run credit reports for all of our clients, but sometimes a creditor may not be listed in this report and we want to ensure we have them listed for the bankruptcy.
- We know it may sound daunting, but we’ll need you to detail every aspect of your debt.
- We will provide you information to give to your creditors about the Wesbrooks Law Firm, so they stop harassing you and instead, contact us.
- You will go through your first credit counseling course.
- Then, right when you are ready to file, you will go through one more credit counseling course. Which means in total you will go through two credit counseling courses.
- After you’ve completed those simple steps it will be time for you to meet with your trustee for the bankruptcy 341 Meeting of Creditors.
- Once this happens then it’s just a matter of weeks before your bankruptcy will be discharged.
Please note: If you’ve chosen Chapter 13 bankruptcy than there is a period where you will repay those debts. This period can be either 3 or 5 years depending on your debts and advice of your bankruptcy trustee.
Now that you know all of that, let’s go over some of the questions you may receive when you go to the 341 Meeting of Creditors.
We should point out very briefly that these may not be the exact questions you are specifically asked, but these are the typical questions that a bankruptcy trustee would ask.
- Do you own or have any interest in any real estate?
- If you do own this property, when did you purchase it, how much did the property cost, what do you owe on it, how much are your payments, what is the estimated value of the property, and are you the sole owner?
A short explanation: Real estate is any property or land that you have any type of interest in. The trustee needs to know this because if it is of value, included in your bankruptcy or if you wish to reaffirm (keep) it.
Let’s step back for just a moment because you may be wondering… why would I want to disclose land that the trustee can take and sell right from under me? This is why it is always best to seek advice from a qualified attorney such as Mark Wesbrooks of the Wesbrooks Law Firm because this is a huge concern that should be addressed and rightfully so. There are ways to keep property or land that you have, even while filing bankruptcy. Just remember, do not hide it, but instead talk to your attorney about the property to let them know your intentions with it. If you wish to keep it, your attorney will do whatever they can to try to help you.
- Have you made any transfers of property or given any property away within the last year?
- If yes, what property have you transferred, who did you transfer it to, what did you get in exchange for said property and what did you do with the funds (if any) that you had received from the property.
- Do you know of anyone holding on to property belonging to you?
- Who holds this property, what type of property is it and what is the value of said property?
- Do you have any claims against anyone or against any businesses?
- If you have large medical debts are these bills from an injury? Are you the plaintiff in any type of lawsuit such as a Personal Injury or Medical Malpractice case? What is the status of each of those cases and who is the attorney representing you in said cases?
- Are you planning or entitled to any life insurance proceeds or inheritance as a result of someone’s death?
- If yes, and you know, you will need to disclose how much, and when you plan on receiving such inheritance.
- If within six months of your bankruptcy petition was filed you become a beneficiary of someone’s estate, your trustee must be advised within ten days through your attorney. You will also need to disclose how much you will receive, including any property that you may inherent.
- Does anyone owe you any amount of money?
- Is this money collectible? Why have you not collected? Who owes you the money and where can they be found?
Let’s take a break for a moment and go over number six a little more in detail. If someone owes you money and you yourself have been trying to collect on said money, than you, yourself have become a creditor. The opposite can be said if someone had loaned you money and they are trying to collect said money. If it’s within the timeframe of the bankruptcy filing, the bankruptcy court may try to collect those paid funds.
The reason being is that the person who loaned you the money would be considered a creditor and the trustee does have a right to make a request to get those funds back in the hands of the bankruptcy court. Why? You see, as we mentioned above, whenever you repay a loan you are paying back a creditor. If the trustee feels that this money would be better suited to pay a portion of your total debts to your creditors than they will make such request to do so. Of course this is in the hands of your trustee and bankruptcy court, but it is something to consider when repaying large amounts of your debts to your family, friends or other creditors. There may be stipulations to this rule and the best advice will always come from your attorney.
- Have you made any large payments, over $600.00, to anyone in the past year?
- Do they mean anyone, like, for instance my Mom? The short answer is, yes. Similar to number 6 and the information we’ve provided above, your Mom although probably very sweet to loan you money is a creditor once the funds are exchanged. We know it may be a little scary to report that you repaid your Mom for money she had loaned you, but it is always best to be truthful not only to your attorney, but also the bankruptcy trustee.
Will the trustee request that my Mom give that money back? In many instances they may. Again though, it is up to the discretion of the bankruptcy trustee. During our initial free consultation with you, we will cover any concerns you may have about these types of situations. Our intake sheet asks questions such as these so that we have a better understanding of your creditors and debt.
- Tax returns, tax returns, tax returns.
- Are you current? Have you filed this years return yet? When was the last time you filed? Have you received any funds from your filed tax return for the current year? Will you be able to provide the trustee your returns for a 2 to 3 year period? What are the amounts you’ve been paid back from your tax returns for each year?
- Do you have any checking or savings accounts?
- If you do, what are the balances of each account you have as of the date when you filed your petition?
- When you filed your petition, did you have…
- Any cash on hand? If yes, how much?
- Any Savings Bonds? If yes, how much?
- Any other Stocks or Bonds? If yes, how much?
- Any Certificates of Deposit? If yes, how much?
- A safe deposit box in your name or in anyone elses name?
The MAIN reason why a trustee may ask so much about your finances at the 341 Meeting of Creditors: When your trustee is asking you these questions, they are expecting honest answers. When you file for bankruptcy you are stating that you cannot afford to pay back your creditors. There are several people who have tried to “cheat” the system by hiding money or other assets. The trustee will always do his or her due diligence to ensure that all of your assets are accounted for. If you are worried about your money, assets or other forms of personal property it’s always best to write your concerns down so that when you speak to your attorney he or she can properly asses your concerns.
Lets move forward…
- Do you own an automobile?
- If so, how many do you own?
- What are the values of each vehicle?
- What are the years, makes and models of the vehicles that you own?
- Do you owe any money on any of these vehicles? If yes, how much do you owe?
- Are these cars currently insured?
About your vehicles: Our firm generally recommends heading on over to KBB to find the value of your vehicle. The website is www.kbb.com and you are looking for the “Used Car Value” of your vehicle. You will need to know the Year, Make, Model and sometimes Trim of your vehicle. Then the website will ask you the condition of the vehicle, you will then click the correct option in KBB and the website will give you the current value for your automobile.
- Do you have any cash values pertaining to any life insurance policies?
- If yes, what is the name of the company, face amount of policy, cash surrender value and beneficiaries (if any)?
- Do you have any winning lottery tickets?
- Are you going to be receiving any property, cash or anything else worth of value as a result of a divorce or separation proceeding?
- Have you owned any businesses in the past 6 years?
- If so, when did you own this business, and what happened to the assets of said business?
So, there you have it and hopefully you rest a little better tonight. If you are looking for what kinds of questions you will be asked at your 341 Meeting of Creditors you now have them. Of course these questions may be a little different specific to your own case, or state and some of these questions may change depending on how you answer them, and your trustee may have additional follow-up questions for you as well. As you can see though, when you’re heading in to your 341 Meeting of Creditors your trustee just wants to ensure that you have disclosed all of your assets and that what you are telling the court is true. Just remember although an little old fashioned saying: Liars don’t make friends, they make enemies. The federal government is not an enemy that we recommend making.
Looking for more than just the basic questions that a bankruptcy Trustee will ask you, head on over to our popular blog that goes into much more detail about the 341 Meeting of Creditors rightfully called: “What is the 341 meeting of creditors & what should I expect?”
Also, feel free to share this with your friends or family. We are happy to help those who may be apprehensive about filing bankruptcy. The Wesbrooks Law Firm is dedicated to ensuring that your bankruptcy goes as smooth as we can make it. If you have any further questions about filing bankruptcy schedule your free no hassle consultation with one of our attorneys today by calling (602) 262-4357 or fill out the form to the right of this article on the questions you may be asked at your Bankruptcy 341 Meeting of Creditors.