If done right, bankruptcy can put you on the path toward financial stability. It can also be used to help you focus on recovery rather than scrambling to pay debt collectors. Under automatic stay, for example, creditors are not allowed to contact you or file a lawsuit to collect funds. In order to declare bankruptcy, one of the first steps is attending a meeting of creditors, also known as a 341 hearing. It is here that your financial situation is assessed so that creditors are paid as much as possible.
You likely have many questions if you are facing a potential bankruptcy. Contact Luftman, Heck & Associates at (216) 586-6600 to see how we can help you.
A meeting of creditors takes place in a standard meeting room rather than a courtroom. There is also no judge present. The only attendees are the debtor (you), the trustee, and the creditors. Although creditors are allowed to participate, they often do not attend.
When the meeting of creditors begins, the trustee will ask a series of questions related to your debts and finances. Creditor meetings are efficient and succinct, with most lasting no more than 5 or 10 minutes. It is also important to remember that, even though you are not in a court room, you are still under oath. Lying in these meetings is considered perjury.
The Role of the Trustee
The trustee leads the meeting of creditors and is often, but not always, a lawyer. Overall, their job is to get as much money as possible for the creditors. The trustee makes sure that your income is accurate and that you did not omit any property or assets from your bankruptcy papers. For this reason, the trustee will ask questions related to your finances. These include, but are not limited to:
- How did you come up with the value of your assets, such as houses and cars?
- Will you receive any tax refunds?
- Will you be receiving any inheritance?
- Will you receive property as a result of a divorce?
It is important to remember that you are not required to respond to inquiries related to how you got into debt or why you are filing for bankruptcy. Remaining silent is the best option when these questions arise.
Contact Luftman, Heck & Associates Today
Meetings of the creditors, or 341 hearings, vary depending on the personal finances of the debtor. You will have to bring many documents, such as earnings statements and asset values, and the meeting standards can be very confusing. Because of the complexity, it is essential to seek the help of the Cleveland bankruptcy lawyer at Luftman, Heck & Associates.
With years of combined experience, our team will work tirelessly to prepare you for your meeting so that your bankruptcy filing can be completed smoothly. We can also advise you on minimal disclosure requirements so that you pay the creditors as little as possible. Call (216) 586-6600 today for a free consultation and to see how we can protect your financial liberty.