While bankruptcy is intended to help you, not hurt you, the process can still be a little intimidating. One of the aspects that can be particularly scary is the prospect of going to court. However, bankruptcy court probably isn’t what you expect. You usually only have to go to a hearing called a 341 meeting.
What Is the Purpose of the Hearing?
The purpose of the hearing is to meet with your trustee to confirm the details of your case. Your creditors have the opportunity to attend the meeting as well and ask you questions if they wish. However, most never even attend.
Where Does the Hearing Take Place?
Each jurisdiction has its own location. While it may take place at the courthouse, it will not be in a courtroom. It is not a judge who presides over the hearing but your bankruptcy trustee, who is appointed by the court and is usually an accountant or an attorney.
What Should You Bring to the Hearing?
The most important things to bring are proof of your social security number and photo identification. Nothing else is required except your presence.
How Long Does the Hearing Last?
The hearing is not a lengthy or involved proceeding. Most are completed in less than 10 minutes.
What Happens at the Hearing?
There will probably be many other hearings scheduled for the same day, so you will have to wait with the others until your name is called. You will be provided with a bankruptcy handout that you must read, and you may also have to fill out a questionnaire.
When it is your turn, the bankruptcy trustee will ask you some questions after swearing you in. The questions can be answered with either yes or no and are very straightforward. However, it is vitally important that you answer the questions truthfully. If you do not, you could be charged with perjury, which would only add to your problems.
The hearing is an opportunity to correct any errors or omissions in your paperwork. The trustee will also ask you to confirm your personal information and that you have listed all your debts and assets.
Do You Have To Go Back After the Initial Hearing?
If you file Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you may have additional meetings with your trustee. If you file Chapter 7, the initial hearing is usually the only one required.