The best way to prepare is to cooperate with your attorney or their paralegal in making sure that the documents that you file with the court, the schedules and the statements of financial affairs are absolutely complete and accurate. Frequently, the biggest problems occur because of the fact that the debtor does not provide full substantiation for their schedules. Consequently, there is no way to immediately show a creditor the information that they want. This means most likely that the meeting expands to take up more time and may recur on multiple occasions. The attorney should try and prepare the debtor for the typical meeting of creditors prior to the meeting with these individuals. An experienced attorney can help you.
What Kind of Questions Does The Trustee Ask? What If I Don’t Know The Answer?
If you have gone through the process of preparing the schedules with the attorney or the attorney’s paralegal, you typically know the answers to the questions. Frequently, when I interview a debtor at a meeting of creditors, I am going to provide yes or no answers, and leading questions. Do you remember coming to my office when we discussed the different types of bankruptcies?
Prior to filing bankruptcy, did you take a debt counseling course, you had an opportunity to read all the documents that were filed did with the court. The answers are typically, yes or no, until you come to the difficult ones. Why did you find it necessary to file a Chapter 7, a Chapter 13, or a Chapter 11? The answer can be as brief as “I was sick and couldn’t pay my bills” to “I discovered that there were problems with the company’s books and had to close it up.” There can be all sorts of reasons. The key is that it just has to be answered truthfully.
Can Someone Consult Their Attorney During The 341 Meeting?
Yes, you can. Although sometimes, it is a bit unusual being that the questions are routinely about the schedules, but yes, it is possible to discuss some things with your attorney. But, if it appears that you are shaky in some areas, than it can invite more extensive questions from the creditors, and so be prepared.
What Is Your Role As An Attorney In The 341 Meeting of Creditors?
The meeting of creditors is in many ways similar to a deposition. A debtor’s attorney’s role is relatively limited. The trustee controls the meeting to a certain extent and the debtor has to answer the questions that are asked of them, because they are under oath. If there is not sufficient time, the trustee can continue the meeting. If a creditor is unhappy with the results or the trustee is unhappy with the results, they can schedule what is equivalent to a deposition, which is called a Rule 2004 examination.
That has to be approved by the court. In more complex cases, preparation prior to the 341 meeting of creditors can significantly improve the process. An unprepared attorney or an uninformed debtor can find themselves in very weighty examinations from either a creditor or a trustee if they believe things such as additional assets are available or the schedules are not correct. Consequently, they need to be prepared prior to the meeting of creditors.
What Can Someone Expect After The 341 Meeting Of Creditors Is Over?
The meeting of creditors creates a timeline that limits the filing of objections to bankruptcy exemptions or claims that an asset is not subject to the bankruptcy process and is the debtor’s own property and it also sets a deadline of sixty days for creditors to file lawsuits challenging the discharge- of that debt. The meeting of creditors is a very important date.
Additional Information Regarding 341 Meeting of Creditors
Having a good result in a bankruptcy, depends upon the actual start of the case. Cases are stronger when competently and thoroughly prepared. The attorney works with the debtor during the process of getting ready to file, understanding what the schedules have to include, and the records that need to be behind them, so you are fully prepared. Talking to an attorney and their paralegal so that you can understand what is in the schedules and what you are swearing to. Discussing your concerns about the meeting of creditors is just as important.
Those are the things that help to make the process go smoother. In a large business case or a complex case, the attorney can prepare a debtor, but the creditors are often prepared for the meeting as well and will bring counsel if there is going to be any litigation. At the very beginning of the process when discussing what is needed to file a bankruptcy and whether you should file or not, the attorney needs to advise the potential client of what they can expect at the meeting of creditors. What is needed for the schedules, and what documents are going to be required by the trustee? A good attorney can make the process of filing the bankruptcy much simpler and much less frightening.
We explain the purpose of every document filed in the case with our client. We want the process to be as smooth as possible. However, we are ready for the unexpected.
For more information on Preparing For A 341 Meeting, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (214) 369-1040 today.