What To Expect At The Bankruptcy Court Date

The Bankruptcy Court Date

When you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you’re going to have to appear at a 341 meeting of creditors. It is called a 341 meeting of creditors because section 341 of the bankruptcy code requires a debtor to appear and be examined under oath. This 341 meeting of creditors is commonly referred to as the court date. At this date, you will appear along with your attorney in front of either a chapter 7 trustee or a chapter 13 trustee. The purpose of the meeting is to make sure that the information that you listed on your bankruptcy petition and schedules is true and accurate. However, depending upon which chapter of bankruptcy you file, the purpose of the meeting beyond verifying the accuracy of the information differs.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Court Date

If you are filing under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, then the trustee is going to basically make sure that you do not have any assets that can be taken, administer, and paid towards your creditors. The timeframe of a meeting under chapter 7 is approximately 5 to 10 minutes. The trustee is going to ask general questions such as did you sign the documents, did you list all of your assets and liabilities, can you sue anybody for any reason such as personal injury or workers compensation claims, and did you give away or sell anything in the last year for less than its fair market value? If the trustee is satisfied that you have no assets and that your petition is complete and accurate, he will tell you that you will be filing a no asset report and the meeting will be adjourned.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Court Date

If you are filing under chapter 13 bankruptcy, then the trustee wants to make sure that you are putting all of your available income towards your repayment plan. The trustee is going to scrutinize your income and your expenses listed on your budget. This trustee wants to make sure that you are not minimizing your income or overstating your monthly expenses. The reason why this is important is because all of your disposable income under chapter 13 law has to be paid towards your repayment plan. Obviously, there is a vast difference between budgets and there is a lot of leeway where a savvy attorney can make it seem like there is less income available for creditors. The chapter 13 trustee’s job is to make certain that the expenses are valid and that the income is accurate.

 Bring Your Photo I.D. And Social Security Card

In either case, you should bring a photo ID and proof of your Social Security number. In many cases, if one of those two items is missing, the trustee will not conduct the meeting and you will be rescheduled for another date. Please keep in mind that the trustee has already received prior to the meeting copies of your recent paycheck stubs and at least one year of your federal taxes. The trustee may have questions regarding those items as well.

Provided you are being honest in your petition, you should not have anything to fear at your court date. Your attorney will be there with you to assist you with any questions that you might have. The examination is not so much an interrogation but rather a verification effort to make sure that what you put in the petition is true, accurate, and complete.

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