After filing for bankruptcy, the court will schedule a section 341 meeting so you can talk with the Trustee overseeing your petition. Your attendance at this meeting is mandatory. Although your creditors have the legal right to also appear, they very rarely show up to ask questions at this point. A 341 meeting may still be a frustrating and difficult obstacle if you don’t have an experienced Brooklyn bankruptcy attorney providing support, however.
Purpose of the 341 Meeting in a New York Bankruptcy
During this major event early in the bankruptcy process, you need to verify the information you’ve submitted while the Trustee asks questions about your financial situation. Those questions usually revolve around ownership of real estate, businesses, stocks, bonds, insurance policies, recreational vehicles, or any other type of asset.
During this meeting, the Trustee will also likely inquire about your recent finances to make sure there have been no fraudulent transfers. Although the specifics can vary depending on your circumstances.
What a Trustee Typically Needs to Know About
- Any “preferential payments” made to specific creditors at the expense of your other debts, which the court may reverse
- Giving away money or assets to family members or friends in the last few years
- If you are planning on bringing a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent party that could involve a cash settlement
If you filed for Chapter 13, the Trustee will scrutinize your income and assets to ensure you are capable of meeting the payment schedule in a bankruptcy plan. With Chapter 7, the Trustee instead needs to determine if you have assets that aren’t exempt and can be sold to pay off your debts.
That’s one of the crucial reasons to see an attorney early so you can find out which of your assets can be saved. Ensuring you are utilizing every exemption available is particularly important for those who own property or require specific assets for business use to keep earning income.
How to Prepare for the 341 Creditor Meeting
Before attending the meeting, you and your attorney should work together to gather all the necessary information. Which specific documents you need to supply can vary depending on whether you are filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, and whether you own a business or home.
While your ID and Social Security card need to be physically brought with you to the meeting, certain other documents should be supplied to the Trustee at least a week before the scheduled date for the 341.
Documents You Should Expect to Provide for a 341 Creditor Meeting
- Appraisals, deeds, and mortgage statements for your home or any other real estate you own or have any interest in
- Copy of the original bankruptcy petition
- Government issued ID, such as a driver’s license
- Latest monthly statement for any of your bank accounts
- Original Social Security card (not a copy)
- Payment advices, which are usually pay stubs or some other document showing any money you received for the 60 days prior to filing the bankruptcy petition
- Stock certificate and lease details for any coop apartments you are involved with
- Titles, lien hold statements, and loan balances remaining for any cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, RVs, or other vehicles you own
- Your federal income tax return for the most recent year you filed income taxes before initiating the bankruptcy process
Unfortunately, it’s easy for debtors to get in over their heads during the bankruptcy process and accidentally make a costly mistake during the 341 meeting. There’s very little room for error in these proceedings, which is why you need an attorney to represent you during your bankruptcy. You don’t want to end up having your case thrown own and be forced to start all over simply because you didn’t submit the right information or it wasn’t provided within strict timeframes.
Find the Qualified Help You Need If You Are Facing Bankruptcy
Have you already filed the initial petition for bankruptcy, or are you considering filing in the near future? You need to speak with a skilled New York bankruptcy attorney who can walk you through every step. Find out how the Alatas Law Firm can help by getting in touch at 718-233-2903 or sending your details through the contact form here.