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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and 341 Hearings

chapter-7-bankruptcy-hearing.jpgWhen you file a petition for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you are disclosing personal and financial information to the bankruptcy court. In order to file for bankruptcy, the court needs to be aware of your debts, property, income and general state of your financial affairs. In turn, the bankruptcy court will appoint a bankruptcy trustee to oversee and administer your case. The trustee will essentially review your petition and verify that what you submitted was true and accurate using independent sources of verification.

In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the trustee may cancel some or all of your debts. Additionally, the trustee may also sell any nonexempt liquid assets that you may have in order to repay some of your creditors. Much of the investigation performed by the trustee takes place at the meeting of creditors, also known as a "341 hearing."

The 341 Hearing

Prior to the 341 hearing, the bankruptcy trustee will have reviewed your general financial status, including your debts, income, expenses, prior tax returns and any pay stubs you may have.

In Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings, the 341 hearing will typically be set anywhere from 21 to 40 days after you file your petition for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy trustee will conduct the 341 hearing and it will usually take place in a room at a federal court building.

Items to Bring to 341 Hearing

When you are scheduled to be at the 341 hearing, you are required to bring certain items with you in order for the hearing to proceed. The most important items you need are photo identification and proof of your Social Security number. If you fail to bring either, the hearing will not proceed and the hearing must be rescheduled. Additionally, the trustee will inform you ahead of time if he or she has any special requirements regarding items you must bring to the meeting.

These special items may include:

  • Copies of mortgage documents;
  • Automobile titles or liens;
  • Deeds to any real property;
  • Bank statements;
  • State and federal tax returns; and
  • Pay stubs.

As with the important items identified above, if you do not bring the items requested by the bankruptcy trustee, the hearing will not proceed and it will have to be rescheduled.

Substance of the 341 Hearing

Generally, you will sit at a table with your attorney, if you retained one, and the bankruptcy trustee will ask you questions about your financial status and any financial documents you submitted. Your creditors may also ask you questions if they or their attorneys are present. Essentially, the 341 hearing provides the trustee with insight into your paperwork, values of any assets or property and any information pertaining to past financial transactions. Once the trustee and creditors finish asking you questions the meeting will be concluded and another 341 hearing will only be scheduled if the trustee needs more information, you were missing any documents or if you need to amend your paperwork.

Consult an Attorney

If you filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you should contact an experienced San Jose bankruptcy attorney at Diemer, Whitman & Cardosi, LLP who will be able to effectively assist you during the 341 hearing and to ensure a swift discharge of your debts. Call 408-971-6270 to schedule a consultation.

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