Why Do I Need a Knowledgeable Bankruptcy Attorney in Pasadena, CA?
If you need legal assistance and are in debt, contact the law firm of Daniela Romero in Pasadena, California. A knowledgeable and reputable Pasadena automatic stay bankruptcy attorney can give you legal counsel, help you file for bankruptcy, and represent you in bankruptcy court.
Both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 filings can be helped with by our experienced bankruptcy lawyer, who should be knowledgeable in this area of the law. The attorney can help decide the best action for your financial problems. Schedule an appointment right now, and you can have free phone consultations on bankruptcy if you need it.
What Does the Chapter 7 Meeting of Creditors Aim to Achieve?
The Chapter 7 meeting with the creditors, referred to as the 341 hearing, is a hearing when you and the bankruptcy trustee are both sworn in and where creditors and the bankruptcy trustee can question you about your bankruptcy petition and the supporting documents you must provide the trustee.
341 hearings are held to ensure that all information in your bankruptcy file is correct and legally enforceable. Although creditors can show up, this rarely happens. There is also no judge present to preside over the proceedings. Your conference will likely only involve a bankruptcy trustee who wants to examine your financial situation and bankruptcy records. Your attorney can give you more details about the other parties involved.
Additionally, you will be required to provide two pieces of identification to confirm your identity, such as:
- Your social security card, and
- A driver’s license or another type of government-issued identification like your passport or military identification card.
That might stop and spot false submissions.
Who Will Attend the Meeting of Creditors?
Debtors rarely interact with creditors or a judge in person during Chapter 7 bankruptcy hearings, but you will probably have guests and spectators present during the hearing. This hearing frequently occurs within other hearings’ timeslots.
There may be up to 10 more bankruptcy filers present and waiting for their cases to be called. Check your calendar to see where you fall in the timetable, and there you might be able to see other 341 hearings being held before yours if you are not called first. Given that most trustees ask the same set of questions, then you will have the chance to see the process.
Your creditors will be informed of the conference of creditors by the bankruptcy court also. Creditors hardly show up unless they believe you are hiding any asset or conducting bankruptcy fraud.
Those who have never filed for bankruptcy may find this procedure somewhat overwhelming. Remember that the creditors’ meeting is only another formality. You are one meeting away from paying off your debt and one step closer to starting over. Your future meetings with creditors will be guided by the Pasadena bankruptcy lawyers at Daniela Romero Law, who will also ensure everything is in order.
How Am I Going To Be Informed About The Chapter 7 Meeting of Creditors?
You and your creditors will get notification of the 341 meeting of creditors from the United States court. The court will determine the date between 21 and 40 days following the day you filed for bankruptcy.
Meetings are typically held in person in a conference room at a federal facility or another location. You might be able to participate online if social distancing requirements are in place.
Do I Have to Keep My 341 Hearing Notice?
You might consider keeping your 341 meeting of creditors’ notice since it contains ample important information, so it makes sense to have it close at hand. You will discover, for example, the following:
- Your bankruptcy case number and filing date, and
- Personal information of the bankruptcy trustee.
The trustee’s contact information will be used to send the 521 bankruptcy paperwork, such as pay stubs, bank statements, and tax returns, that you must deliver to the trustee before the 341 meeting with creditors.
Additionally, you will need your bankruptcy case number to finish the required debtor education course after declaring bankruptcy.
Finally, whenever a creditor calls, you need to provide them with the case number and the filing date. It is doubtful that the creditor will contact you again after confirming your bankruptcy.
What is the Role of the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustee in the Meeting of Creditors?
The 341 meeting of creditors is only one of the bankruptcy trustee’s duties. The trustee must fulfill the following:
Verify your identity;
- Evaluate your bankruptcy petition for completeness;
- Ensure that your creditors receive the most money possible;
- Look at any likely bankruptcy fraud;
- Carefully examine your assets and look for any undeclared income or revenue streams;
- Sell unprotected assets and allocate the proceeds to repay any debts from your creditors.
Evaluation of Your Case Before the 341 Hearing
The trustee will review your bankruptcy filings and the 521 documents to prepare for the creditors’ meeting. The trustee may also request further financial records, including your property deeds, car titles, proof of insurance, loan statements for homes and vehicles, and court orders and marriage settlement agreements.
Some trustees may accept the documents by email, while others will ask you to mail them or upload them to a secure website.
How Do You Prepare for the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Meeting of Creditors?
Before you meet with creditors, it is crucial that you carefully read your bankruptcy petition and related documents. Since filing for bankruptcy is a complex and frequently complicated procedure, it is easy to forget to include something essential or make a mistake. If you discover an error in your bankruptcy petition, you must submit an update immediately before your hearing or bring the matter up with the trustee during the hearing.
Typical errors frequently missed include:
- Not using your legal name exactly as it appears on your driver’s license;
- Not including all debtors; and
- Without counting any personal debt that may have been paid off to family members before filing bankruptcy.
Ensure to review thoroughly every part of your financial history before your meeting. The bankruptcy trustee assigned to your case will be diligent and likely to elicit very private financial information from you. Because you will be sworn in during the hearing, be ready to answer their questions honestly and freely.
What Happens During the 341 Hearing?
This general summary will give you a sense of what to expect when you appear at a creditors’ conference, but your experienced bankruptcy attorney will also prepare you for the bankruptcy 341 meetings.
You will be answering questions under oath even though this hearing is very informal, does not occur in a courtroom, and is not in front of a judge. The bankruptcy trustee will “swear you in” after examining your identification.
In most cases, the trustee will ask you first about your understanding of the procedure, the information your attorney has given you, and whether or not you have read the petitions and schedules submitted to the court before requesting information concerning your obligations and income.
The rest of the meeting often moves along quite quickly if no creditors are present and the trustee did not find anything suspicious in the petition and schedules.
Here are the frequently asked questions that the trustee might ask you:
- Is what you said when you filed for bankruptcy factual and accurate?
- Have all assets, both protected and unprotected, been accounted for?
- Have you made a list of every creditor to whom you owe money?
- Have you ever filed for bankruptcy before?
- In the recent four years, have you given any property deeds to other people?
- Are you currently a plaintiff in a court of law?
- Are you aware of any institution or person that owes you money?
What Should You Bring to Your 341 Hearing?
Usually, the trustee had already been given the majority of the confirming papers, such as your initial bankruptcy filing, pay stubs, bank statements, and income taxes, before your hearing. Therefore, you must only bring the following:
- Photo ID;
- Copy of your bankruptcy documents for your records; and
- Social security card.
You will need to provide documentation proving the change and show it to the trustee if your financial situation has changed since you filed for bankruptcy. If you are unclear about what to bring, speak with your bankruptcy lawyer and confirm everything is in order before your 341 hearing.
What Happens When Your Creditor Attends the 341 Hearing?
Many people who file for bankruptcy are concerned about the possibility of creditors attending the 341 hearing. That makes sense, given that being in debt is unpleasant, and creditors are likely to be dissatisfied with the bankruptcy filing. Since the creditors’ queries about you are limited, the bankruptcy trustee and your lawyer are present to ensure that the proceedings progress as planned.
Creditors frequently inquire about the type and location of assets and other financial details. You should be aware that a creditor who appears at the meeting will probably use the details learned there to its advantage when determining whether it makes sense to initiate a lawsuit against you to discuss the debt’s discharge.
When a specific creditor shows up, most debtors are not surprised. For instance, displeased business partners and ex-spouses frequently attend the hearing. A creditor with a “secured claim,” which is a debt backed by property like a car, or who thinks you violated the presumption of fraud regulations by buying luxury goods on credit just before the filing, may also send a lawyer to the hearing.
For many bankruptcy petitioners, the meeting with the creditors is stressful. Nonetheless, the meeting is frequently brief and smooth. Before the meeting, you should discuss with your Pasadena bankruptcy attorney to put your mind at ease and ensure you are prepared to give the trustee the data they require to move your case forward.
What Happens After the 341 Hearing?
If the bankruptcy trustee is satisfied that no more information or supporting documents are required, they “conclude” the meeting. You will not need to attend a subsequent hearing, and following completion of all other conditions, you will be given your “discharge” or the order deleting qualified debts.
A new bankruptcy hearing date will be scheduled by the trustee if you forget your identification or if the trustee or a creditor needs further details.
The trustee may cancel the subsequent meeting if you submit the required bankruptcy forms before the scheduled date. However, you will still need to attend the following hearing if the trustee has additional inquiries.
What If You Do Not Appear at the Meeting of Creditors?
Your bankruptcy case will be dismissed by the court if you fail to show up for your scheduled meeting of creditors. The best thing to do is to give the Chapter 7 trustee prompt notice if you cannot attend your creditors’ meeting. Your excuse for missing the hearing will probably determine if it is rescheduled. A trustee might decide to continue a case for one of the reasons listed below, even if employment and travel obligations are typically not convincing.
- Urgent family or medical matter
- Critical health condition
- Natural catastrophe
- Serving in the armed forces
The trustee might agree to let you participate virtually as well. You can typically re-file your case right away if the court dismisses it. When you file for bankruptcy again within a year of being dismissed, you forfeit the automatic stay. In this scenario, the automatic stay in the new matter will only be valid for 30 days. To maintain its protection, you must submit a motion to extend it before expiration.
Say Yes to Financial Freedom and Be Debt-Free Now!
Our bankruptcy attorneys are prepared to walk you through every step of the 341 Meeting of Creditors, even though it feels like a difficult and stressful procedure. Even before the creditors’ conference, they will help you deal with bankruptcy trustees and guide you through the entire process. Free phone legal consultations with Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 lawyers are available in Pasadena! We can assist you to get debt relief or bankruptcy relief and address your queries or worries.
To help clients, Daniela Romero Law Office releases them from debt obligations. Our ultimate goal is to give our clients a new start in their financial lives is our ultimate goal. Call our hotline instantly to get legal advice from our law firm!