When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Ohio, you must attend a meeting of creditors, also known as a 341 creditors meeting. While your Dayton bankruptcy attorney will be able to accompany you to the meeting of creditors, it is you as the debtor that will have to answer the bankruptcy trustee’s questions. Although it sometimes happens, it is extremely rare that any creditors will show up for your 341 meeting, so there’s no need to be anxious about having to face your creditors directly. Even with this knowledge, meeting with the bankruptcy trustee causes much anxiousness for individuals filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, so we thought it prudent to put together a list of basic tips on how to prepare for the meeting of creditors and what to expect when you get there.
Bankruptcy Trustee Meeting Tips
Just like any other important meeting in your life, it is great advice to get plenty of sleep the night before, and to make sure that you are prepared, know where the meeting is, and arrive a little early in order to feel more comfortable with your surroundings. It goes without saying that you should not miss your meeting! If you miss your 341 creditors meeting a first time, it may be rescheduled, however, if you miss a second time, you run the risk of your case being dismissed without your debts being discharged
Common Bankruptcy Trustee questions
In order to be fully prepared for your meeting with the bankruptcy trustee, you will want to review your bankruptcy petition and schedules with your bankruptcy lawyer prior to the meeting. Your bankruptcy attorney will be able to help you with what questions you might expect, such as:
- Have you sold or transferred property of any kind in the last two years?
- Have you kept any of your credit cards?
- What is the cash value of your insurance policies?
- How did you arrive at the value listed for your personal and real property?
There are several other questions that might come up, and being prepared to discuss things such as property transfers over the last three years is crucial to a smooth meeting of the creditors. If you have transferred any property prior to filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, be prepared with information such as the day you purchased or sold the property, what the selling price was and who you sold it to, and if you received any cash at the closing, how much you received and what you did with it.
Make a List and Be Specific
When discussing your bankruptcy petition with the bankruptcy trustee, it pays to have a list and/or timeline that is as specific as you can make it. Be prepared to discuss any money that you have drawn from your retirement account and what you did with the money. Prior to the meeting of the creditors, make sure you go over any transfer of assets or major changes to your estate with your bankruptcy attorney so you are fully prepared to answer questions about those events. The primary question that comes up in nearly every Meeting of Creditors, is why you have had to file bankruptcy in the first place. Make sure you have a well thought out, and specific answer to this questions.
Keep Calm and Be Honest
Most Meeting of Creditors with the bankruptcy trustee will last less than 10 minutes, although if you have owned a business in the last six years or so, there may be more questions such as:
- How did you arrive at the value of your business?
- What inventory, business assets, or accounts receivable do you have?
- When did you start the business and when did you shut it down?
Again, these are questions you should review with your attorney prior to your meeting. The main thing to remember is that while the meeting may be the source of anxious, they aren’t that long and as long as you are honest with your answers you have nothing to worry about. If the bankruptcy trustee ends your meeting of creditors without asking for more information or documentation, there is a solid likelihood that you won’t have to attend any further hearings and are well on your way to receiving your chapter 7 discharge.