This article provides practical advice that can help debtors prepare for a 341 creditor meeting that is part of the bankruptcy process.
Many debtors who are going through the bankruptcy process are intimidated by the idea of attending a 341 creditor meeting, or also called Trustee’s meeting. This isn’t surprising because the 341 creditor meeting is a legal proceeding that requires debtors to review their Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy petitions with a court-appointed trustee.
This meeting can feel intimidating because your creditors can ask you certain questions about your debts. However, you can take the stress out of attending this meeting if you plan ahead. In almost all cases, no creditor is showing up to ask questions. Normally, it is only the trustee and you. The trustee is not a Judge. He is an attorney who often besides of being a trustee handles his own bankruptcy cases and knows that debtors might be nervous at the meeting. In St. Louis, Missouri, for example the trustee’s meeting is held in the Federal Court Building but not in a court room.
Here are some suggestions that can help being prepared for your 341 creditor meeting:
1) Try to meet with your St. Louis bankruptcy attorney or an attorney in your area before you attend your meeting.
It’s a good idea to meet with attorney before your 341 creditor meeting because he can help you review your petition to help you understand possible questions that could be asked about your petition. Your bankruptcy lawyer in St. Louis or your area knows the trustee and questions he will ask about debts, income and your bankruptcy petition in general.
2) Try to watch a 341 creditor meeting in person.
A 341 creditor meeting is a legal proceeding that can be watched in person just like most other legal proceedings in this country. In St. Louis for example, many debtors have the 341 meeting at the same time, the meeting with the trustee takes only a few minutes. He will examine your social security card and picture I.D. to make sure you are the person who is filing bankruptcy and that no one else is using your personal information.
When waiting for your case to be called, you will have the opportunity to listen to the questions asked in previous cases. The trustee normally is asking the same or similar questions. You might be able to reduce the stress of attending your 341 meeting because you can see first hand how your meeting will be organized and conducted.
3) Be sure to arrive at your 341 creditors meeting at least 20 minutes early.
It’s a good idea to arrive at your meeting early because you will need to find your attorney who might have other clients scheduled for this time as well. Often, depending on the trustee, you might have to fill out a short questionnaire. In St. Louis, Missouri, for example, the chapter 13 trustee requires a two page questionnaire to be filled out before hearing your case. If that is not filled out, you have to wait until all other cases are heard.
If you don’t understand these rules, or if you need help with the paperwork, be sure to ask your bankruptcy attorney in St. Charles or your area for help. He can help you understand the rules and paperwork in a way that’s easy to understand.
4) Finally, don’t forget to have your Social Security card and picture ID ready for inspection.
It’s important to bring your Social Security card and picture ID to your 341 meeting because Missouri’s bankruptcy regulations require debtors to prove their identities before a 341 creditor meeting can take place. As a result, be sure to place your picture ID and Social Security card in your purse or wallet the night before your meeting. Doing this is the easiest way we know to have these important items with you when it’s time for you to check in for your 341 creditor meeting. If you forget your ID or Social Security Card, the trustee most likely will continue the meeting.
For more information about preparing for a 341 creditor meeting, please ask a bankruptcy attorney in St. Louis or in your area for more details. They can help you find more ways to prepare for your 341 creditor meeting that can help you feel more comfortable completing this important part of the bankruptcy process.
Guest post by Tobias Licker, St. Louis Bankruptcy Attorney