The idea of facing your creditors face-to-face could be frightening, but if you file for bankruptcy, you have no choice but to attend a 341 hearing. The hearing is a creditor's opportunity to dispute the discharge of a debt and ask the court to require you to pay it. If you have a hearing scheduled, here is what you need to know.
What Happens During the Hearing?
Although the meeting of creditors is considered a hearing, a judge is not present. The meeting is attended by any creditors who want to attend, the bankruptcy trustee, and you and your attorney. Your attendance is required. If you are not in attendance, the trustee could ask the court to dismiss your bankruptcy filing.
During the hearing, the trustee will go through your filing and reaffirm the information that you provided to the court. It is important to note that although a judge is not in attendance, the hearing is considered a legal hearing. If any of the information you provide to the trustee is incorrect or deliberately misleading, you could face legal consequences.
At some point in the hearing, creditors will be allowed to object to the bankruptcy filing. Creditors could choose to ask you questions about your debt and ability to pay. If the creditor chooses to move forward with an objection to the filing, a court hearing with a judge will be scheduled.
How Can You Prepare?
Even though it might seem troublesome, you need to bring all financial documentation that can support the information that is included in your bankruptcy filing. Documentation such as your paycheck statements, list of expenses, and copies of debts, can all help the trustee reaffirm your debts and avoid a delay in the filing.
Prior to the hearing, the trustee might request certain documentation from you. If he or she does, try to have it submitted before the 341 hearing. If you do, the trustee has time to verify the information ahead of time.
You also need to review your bankruptcy filing with your attorney. If there are any errors in the filing, your attorney can file an amendment. Waiting to correct the information at the hearing could result in a delay.
The 341 hearing is an unavoidable part of the bankruptcy process. Fortunately for you, once the hearing is over, you are one step closer to receiving relief from your debts. Work with your attorney to avoid delays and stay on the right path with your bankruptcy filing.
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