Creditor's meeting

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2004
Creditor's meeting
9
Tue, 05-28-2013 - 3:36pm

My husband and I just filed for bankruptcy.  We recieved our notice of our meeting with (or of) the creditors.  What can I expect from this meeting?  After the last couple of years, filing has been a huge relief but this meeting and not understanding it is terrifying to me.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-21-2011
Tue, 05-28-2013 - 7:04pm

I'm afraid I can't help you with the meeting basics, but most likely it will be a discussion of assets both personal and joint. Good luck and be sure to take notes!

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Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Wed, 05-29-2013 - 9:57am
The trustee will look over your schedules, you will verify your name, info, etc. the trustee may ask you a few questions, creditors are able to show up and ask questions or dispute claims or assets, its usually a relatively quick process. Get there a bit early and watch how a few before your's goes, that usually helps calm nerves a bit. Also remember your attorney will be there, if there are any questions or anything you don't understand, he/she can explain it.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Wed, 05-29-2013 - 11:12am

If you have a simple case, they usually don't ask that many questions--you have to verify your identity (remember to bring driver's license and Social Security cards), they ask if you have listed all your assets and liabilities, if you own a home or have owned real estate in the past few years.  I've hardly ever seen a creditor show up.  (I'm a lawyer who does bankruptcy.)

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2004
Wed, 05-29-2013 - 1:35pm
Thank you all for responding. Our case is pretty simple. We only have a few assets and MANY liabilities that were all listed. I guess the thing that scared me was the creditors quizzing me :-) Yes, I know I owed you money I cannot pay back. Hopefully none will come . . .
Community Leader
Registered: 03-17-2003
Wed, 05-29-2013 - 4:26pm

Hi Bj032174.  Welcome to the board.  The question of what exactly a 341 meeting is about and what to expect is a great question and super common.  So too are your feelings!   What you have is a good case of the jitters.  I'm hoping the following information will be helpful.  Keep in mind you probably will not sleep very well the night before the 341 meeting.  You will also spend more time looking for a place to park than the time you will be sitting with the trustee and your lawyer.  Rarely--RARELY--do creditors show up.  Frankly if anyone has any question they typically take care of matters over the phone and/or email long before the 341 Meeting of Creditors.  No drama.  Nothing to be afraid of.

Take a breath and let it out.  Read on and hopefully you'll feel much calmer by the time you finish reading the post.

I found a thread from a few years ago when I outlined info for anyone who is interested in what is asked of those who have filed Bankruptcy. The 341 Meeting of Creditors is a required hearing. Once you read what kind of questions are asked you can see there is nothing to fear. Bankruptcy Court is not to intimidate you, scare you, or frighten you. For most people the situations that resulted in debt have been enough. Court is not there to harm you. It is there to protect you and your rights from your creditors.

Hope this helps.

[Note: The original thread was on the Bankruptcy Q&A Board]

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I can't find the original post of 341 Meeting of Creditors from the United States Department of Justice, so here is the info again. Please understand all of this is set forth in the bankruptcy code - no surprises. Everything is required and it is not designed to make you feel horrible. Remember: You have a Constitutional right to file bankruptcy and there is nothing wrong with you or your morals, values and self worth. This is a business decision. Try to approach the hearing as a business matter. The entire 341 Meeting will be as brief as possible and you will hopefully be surprised at how simple and straight forward the process was.

I have listed below the questions straight out of the Department of Justice website. The first ten (10) statements and questions are asked of everyone. Usually these are the only questions you will be asked. If there is something more the trustee wants to know about the trustee will ask about specifically by referring to your paperwork. After the first of the year the typical additional question will be about any income tax refunds due or received, and if received if it was spent, which most people have done. It is ok to say you spent your refund on basic necessities like paying and/or catching up utility bills, buying your children clothing, medicine, etc. or getting your car repaired. Any of the questions after the first 10 questions/statements (see below) may be asked.

Keep in mind this is not designed to be like the Spanish Inquisition. These hearings are required and straight forward, quite painless and very brief. You have filed a voluntary petition. It's not like you are being sued and dragged into court by an adversary. You voluntarily filed, you have decided to deal effectively and legally with your debt, you want to get a handle on your finances, regain control over your life and take advantage of a fresh start. This is simply a business matter -- the business of ending the cycle of debt.

Congratulations. You will make it. Chin up. Read on.

Here are the questions and statements you can expect:

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

APPENDIX A SECTION 341(a) MEETING OF CREDITORS
REQUIRED STATEMENTS/QUESTIONS

1. State your name, social security number, and current address for the record.

2. Have you read the Bankruptcy Information Sheet provided by the United States Trustee?

3. Did you sign the petition, schedules, statements, and related documents you filed with the court?

4. Did you read the petition, schedules, statements, and related documents before you signed them?

5. Are you personally familiar with the information contained in the petition, schedules, statements and related documents?

6. To the best of your knowledge, is the information contained in the petition, schedules, statements, and related documents true and correct?

7. Are there any errors or omissions to bring to my, or the court's, attention at this time?

8. Are all of your assets identified on the schedules?

9. Have you listed all of your creditors on the schedules?

10. Have you filed bankruptcy before? (If so, the trustee must obtain the case number and the discharge information to determine the debtor(s) discharge eligibility.)

SAMPLE GENERAL QUESTIONS
(To be asked when deemed appropriate.)

1. Do you own or have any interest whatsoever in any real estate?

If owned: When did you purchase the property? How much did the property cost? What are the mortgages encumbering it? What do you estimate the present value of the property to be? Is that the whole value or your share? How did you arrive at that value?

If renting: Have you ever owned the property in which you live and/or is its owner in any way related to you?

2. Have you made any transfers of any property or given any property away within the last one year period (or such longer period as applicable under state law)? 
If yes: What did you transfer? To whom was it transferred? What did you receive in exchange? What did you do with the funds?

3. Does anyone hold property belonging to you? 
If yes: Who holds the property and what is it? What is its value?

4. Do you have a claim against anyone or any business? 
If there are large medical debts, are the medical bills from injury? 
Are you the plaintiff in any lawsuit? 
What is the status of each case and who is representing you?

5. Are you entitled to life insurance proceeds or an inheritance as a result of someone's death? 
If yes: Please explain the details. 
If you become a beneficiary of anyone's estate within six months of the date your bankruptcy petition was filed, the trustee must be advised within ten days through your counsel of the nature and extent of the property you will receive. FRBP 1007(h)

6. Does anyone owe you money? 
If yes: Is the money collectible? Why haven't you collected it? Who owes the money and where are they?

7. Have you made any large payments, over $600, to anyone in the past year?

8. Were federal income tax returns filed on a timely basis? When was the last return filed? 
Do you have copies of the federal income tax returns? At the time of the filing of your petition, were you entitled to a tax refund from the federal or state government?
If yes: Inquire as to amounts.

9. Do you have a bank account, either checking or savings? 
If yes: In what banks and what were the balances as of the date you filed your petition?

10. When you filed your petition, did you have: 
a. any cash on hand? 
b. any U.S. Savings Bonds? 
c. any other stocks or bonds? 
d. any Certificates of Deposit? 
e. a safe deposit box in your name or in anyone else's name?

11. Do you own an automobile? 
If yes: What is the year, make, and value? Do you owe any money on it? Is it insured?

12. Are you the owner of any cash value life insurance policies? 
If yes: State the name of the company, face amount of the policy, cash surrender value, if any, and the beneficiaries.

13. Do you have any winning lottery tickets?

14. Do you anticipate that you might realize any property, cash or otherwise, as a result of a divorce or separation proceeding?

15. Regarding any consumer debts secured by your property, have you filed the required Statement of Intention with respect to the exemption, retention, or surrender of that secured property? Please provide a copy of the statement to the trustee. Have you performed that intention?

16. Have you been engaged in any business during the last six years? 
If yes: Where and when? What happened to the assets of the business?

In cases where debtors are engaged in business, the following questions should be considered:

1. Who was responsible for maintaining financial records?

2. Which of the following records were maintained?

a. Cash receipts journal 
b. Cash disbursements journal 
c. General journal 
d. Accounts receivable ledger 
e. Accounts payable ledger 
f. Payroll ledger 
g. Fixed asset ledger 
h. Inventory ledger 
i. General ledger 
j. Balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statements

3. Where are each of the foregoing records now located?

4. Who was responsible for preparing financial statements?

5. How often were financial statements prepared?

6. For what periods are financial statements available?

7. Where are such financial statements now located?

8. Was the business on a calendar year or a fiscal year?

9. Were federal income tax returns filed on a timely basis? When was the last return filed?

10. Do you have copies of the federal income tax returns? Who does have the copies?

11. What outside accountants were employed within the last three years?

12. Do you have copies of the reports of such accountants? Who does have copies?

13. What bank accounts were maintained within the last three years?

14. Where are the bank statements and cancelled checks now located?

15. What insurance policies were in effect within the last year? What kind, and why?

16. From whom can copies of such insurance policies be obtained?

17. If the business is incorporated, where are the corporate minutes?

18. Is the debtor owed any outstanding accounts receivable? From whom? Are they collectible?

19. Is there any inventory, property, or equipment remaining?

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Handbook for Chapter 7 Trustees 
Effective 10/1/98

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Page Last Updated on March 19, 1999. 
United States Trustee Program/Department of Justice 

usdoj-eoust/msd/vdp 

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Thu, 05-30-2013 - 11:25am
I think sometimes it depends on where you are doing BK at. When I was doing it back in Michigan, an attorney for Ford Motor Credit showed up to every single 341 that had Ford Motor Credit listed as a creditor for a car loan or lease, GMAC wasn't as bad, but tended to show up for some of the BK's that had higher value leased cars and financed cars.
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Community Leader
Registered: 03-17-2003
Thu, 05-30-2013 - 1:54pm

Sears used to do the same thing and once a debtor left the 341 meeting, the Sears rep. would stop the debtor, hand them a list of purchases, and ask what they intended to do (this happened to us).  Sears was later fined.  Believe it was the single largest fine against any creditor: $60 million. I'm hoping no one would be unnecessarily fearful of their 341 meeting because of this.  There are enough emotions enveloping filers and you can see the strain on their faces.  Most people have already been through enough stress before getting to the point where they file.  Know you've seen those families huh Tracy.

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Wed, 06-05-2013 - 11:27am

Of course the one time i don't copy my work... 

Yes, Best Buy would do the same thing as Sears only in letter form via mail.  We had several letters to and from them about the stove that was bought on their cc and why it wasn't a secured claim and to leave us alone. 

The stigma of bankruptcy, even if harder times, is so strong that so many people that probably really need it don't take advantage of it and end up worse in the long run, not only financially but healty wise from the stress.  Other than payments for a chapter 13, the worst part of it really is the run up to filing and the 341 hearing, after that, its such a relief from the pressure!

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Community Leader
Registered: 03-17-2003
Thu, 06-20-2013 - 10:56am

You are so right about the relief after the 341 meeting.  It would be nice to hear from those who have filed and been through the 341 to share their stories.