What Is a 341 Meeting? (Court or Meeting of Creditors)?
A 341 Meeting (also Meeting of Creditors) in Raleigh, NC
What is a 341 meeting? A 341 meeting is often called “court” — but it is not court. It is a meeting between you and a bankruptcy trustee, there is no judge. The trustee is generally an attorney but can be a CPA.
The meeting takes only a few minutes (with Cameron Bankruptcy Law) and with a competent attorney it is mostly a formality, While it may only take a few minutes, we won’t know exactly when your “few minutes” will be, so take at least the morning off.
The meeting will be among possibly hundreds of other meetings, and the rooms are generally packed with people filing bankruptcy and their attorneys. They have a court calendar, but it can’t be relied on to determine your meeting time.
You will find out your 341 Meeting date shortly after filing your bankruptcy, and it will be approximately 30 days out. If you can’t make it, it is IMPORTANT you contact your attorney ASAP or your case could be dismissed
Many clients ask if we will be there with you.
Of course! We take care of you and hold your hand through the process. We don’t just file the paperwork.
What to Bring to the 341 Meeting
- Bring a picture ID. (Acceptable identification includes: driver’s license, government-issued picture identification, passport, or permanent resident alien card.)
- Proof of Social Security Number. (Acceptable documents include Social Security card, current W-2 forms, or wage statements including full SSN.) You can get a new Social Security Card by calling 1-800-772-1213 or go to www.ssa.gov.
- Any paperwork that should have been submitted earlier, and copies of what you submitted — just in case!
- If your spouse is filing jointly with you, bring him or her.
- DON’T BRING A CELL PHONE, LAPTOP, OR CAMERA.
- DON’T BRING ANYTHING THAT COULD BE CONSTRUED AS A WEAPON – even a pocket knife!
- DON’T BRING CHILDREN.
- Scout out where it will be held BEFORE the day arrives.
- Arrive early.
Your case may be dismissed if documents are asked for and you do not supply them within the time allowed. Failure to attend your hearing is a basis for dismissing your case
What is a 341 Meeting Attire?
What is a 341 meeting dress code? The 341 meeting is a place you don’t wear cut-offs or jeans with holes in them, and don’t wear flip-flops. Suits are not required but dress properly for a hearing in Federal Court. Be respectful of the process. Business casual clothing such as polo shirts, khaki pants, and dress blouses are ideal. Most importantly, TELL THE TRUTH! You will be under oath. What you wear to the 341 meeting is not as important as the orange jumpsuit you may find yourself wearing if convicted of a Federal Bankruptcy crime.
What is a 341 Meeting Question?
What is a 341 meeting question? Your 341 hearing will be about three to six weeks after you file, and you will receive a notice by mail with the date and time of this hearing about 10 days after you file. All persons are required to attend the 341 hearing if they file a bankruptcy. If you miss this hearing and your bankruptcy is dismissed, you will have to repay the filing and Attorney fees to file again.
You will want to get there a little early to listen to the questions that are asked and prepare for your turn. Normally, the Trustee will ask you the following questions:
- What is your name?
- What is your address?
- What is your Social Security Number?
- Did you list all your assets and all your debts?
- Do you understand what a reaffirmation is?
- Do you understand what the effects of a bankruptcy are?
- Have you given any property to the Trustee?
- Have you recently won the lottery or inherited property?
- Have you given away or transferred any property within the two year?
- Do you understand what a Chapter 13 is and did you consider it?
- Do you understand what a discharge is?
- How much is your home worth?
- Are you expecting a tax refund, or does any owe you any money now?
Creditors may appear and ask questions
What is a 341 meeting creditor? At the 341 hearing normally, no creditors appear. If a secured creditor attends, the only question they normally ask is whether or not you wish to reaffirm. Never reaffirm credit cards, doctor bills, and other unsecured debts. Please don’t ask us to agree to unsecured reaffirmations unless you have a very good reason. Your Attorney has to sign any reaffirmation and certify to the Court that the reaffirmation is in your best interest. Reaffirming unsecured debt is rarely in your best interest.
What is a 341 Meeting Mistake
What is a 341 meeting mistake? These are things NOT to say at 341 meetings that have been collected by Attorney Nick Thompson of Kentucky (used by permission). For some reason, perhaps due to the pressure of the meeting, these people blurted out these statements to their detriment. Sometimes what they say is not true, but the Trustee would not know it. Sometimes it is true, but they failed to tell their attorney before filing. Sometimes it is just embarrassing.
We take great pride in having the most informed clients at the 341 meetings, but a lot of that depends on you. It is IMPERATIVE that you tell your attorney EVERYTHING, and that you’re honest at your 341 meeting. If you surprise us with information (like some of these comments) we may not be able to protect your assets properly. We go to great lengths to ensure everything is covered and accurate, but ultimately it depends upon you.
Read these, laugh, and make sure you do not make the same mistakes!
- “You are not going to check how much my house is worth are you?” (The Trustee did just that after that strange statement.)
- “Why did I file? Well, I guess I really didn’t need to, I make enough money.” (That response caused a lot of questions to be asked about why the person did not file a 13.)
- “I really earn twice that, but I didn’t want my wife to know what I really earn because it would increase my child support.”
- “I thought you’d ask me to turn that stuff over to you, so I gave it to my Mom.” (Mom got hauled in and had to give it back.)
- “Yes, I won the million dollar lottery, but I bought that winning lottery ticket the day before I filed, and I did not know I won until after that.” (He owned the ticket before he filed. His bankruptcy was voluntarily dismissed and he had to pay his bills.)
- “Do we have to consider the rent that I get from my home? I really don’t live in my home, I just rent it out to my brother.” (In North Carolina, you have to live in your own home to exempt it as your homestead. This guy could have lost his home.)
- “Dad only put the 23-meter boat in my name just so he could get insurance on it. He lives in Chicago and someone locally had to have it in his name to get insurance.” (This person actually filed the bankruptcy and kept the boat, free-and-clear, because it was his Dad’s. He was very lucky in that case!)
- “My Attorney warned me to list all my assets.”
- “Yes, I’m interested in real estate.” (Answered to “Do you have any interest in real estate?”)
- “I pawned the secured item just before I filed.” (He had to pay for it.)
- “Yeah, I got over $1000 as a cash advance on my credit card just before I filed because I knew it would be my last chance to grab some.” (He had to pay it back. If he had waited 10 more days to file, he would have been within the rule and would have kept the money.)
- “I knew Mom was dying, and I was going to inherit all the big dough, so I charged it up, rushed out, and filed just before she died.” (No, that one did not go through.)
- “Sure, I understand what a discharge is. The wife had one last month, but aren’t you getting a little personal?” (Yes, it was actually said in Court.)
- “That loan that I took out just before I filed? Yeah, I knew I was filing bankruptcy when I took it out.” (He had to repay it.)
- “My house is worth at least $80,000!” (She bragged about how much her house was worth when she did not know what it was worth. She had to pay for an appraisal to keep it after that.)
What is a 341 Meeting Post-Petition Requirment
- Complete financial management course.
- Complete reaffirmations with required counseling if not already finished.
- Complete intentions as stated in “Statement of Intentions”.
- Save up enough money for the payments on the debts you know you will reaffirm, so you will be able to “catch up” (if necessary) when you are offered a reaffirmation. If you are redeeming there may be no reason to make any more payments — you will simply pay the lump sum and buy back your car. Discuss with your attorney.
- Do not release any property to a Creditor until you are told to (usually, at the 341 meeting which is about 3-6 weeks after you file).
- If a secured Creditor calls, you may wish to negotiate a reaffirmation or redemption, or you may wish to advise him when and where to pick up his security (if you have been told by us to do so). Secured Creditors may appear at the 341 hearing to negotiate reaffirmations, but it is very rare.
- An innocent unsecured Creditor may call you because he failed to get notice of your bankruptcy filing. Often the bankruptcy notice goes to one branch, but the collection department never gets the notice. However, there are also a few unsecured Creditors that have no respect for the intent of the Court order. Please tell any unsecured Creditor that continues to call you to call our office. If they continue to call you, you should record the call so we can take them to Court. Just telling them that you are recording the call will normally stop the calls forever.Remember, we depend on YOU to gather the proof that they are calling you and intentionally violating the order. The same person or company that does not respect the law and Court orders will normally lie and claim that they never made the call. You have the burden of proof, and it is not illegal for you to record his conversation and later use it against him.We do not wish to sue any Creditor that just makes a minor or honest mistake, but we do wish to nail any company or person who ignores the law. Creditors have gone so far as to call workplaces and claim there was a death in the family of the debtor, just to get the debtor to call him back. We never advise you to sign a reaffirmation with an unsecured Creditor. For a reaffirmation agreement to be valid, your Attorney must sign it or a Judge must approve it.
- Obey all orders from the Court and the Trustee, and fill out your paperwork honestly.
- Remain current on secured debt payments if you intend to keep the collateral. Due to the automatic stay, automatic debits may stop and you may stop receiving bills for those debts. You will need to remember your due dates, and pay the creditor directly “the old fashioned way” until automatic payments can be resumed.
- Take $500 of your money and get a secured loan at a bank for a long period of time where there are no early payment penalties. Repeat this 3-4 times. Pay the minimum amount in a timely fashion for 3-4 months. Then close the accounts and get your money back. Now you have had these banks reporting your faithful payments to the credit bureaus!
- If you have a stable and sufficient income you should be able to get a mortgage in two years (3 years if you have a foreclosure), as long as you make all post-bankruptcy payments on time. Ask your bank to help you reestablish your credit.
- PLEASE! Refer your friends to Cameron Bankruptcy Law and write a brief note that we can use as a reference later. Your last name will be withheld for confidentiality.