HELPING GOOD PEOPLE THROUGH HARD TIMES
THE MEETING OF CREDITORS
YOUR COURT APPEARANCE
You (and your spouse if you both filed a case) must make one "court appearance".
Actually it is more of an informal meeting as it is hot held in the bankruptcy courtroom before the Judge.
Nevertheless, it is important to tell the truth when asked questions as your testimony is recorded under penalty of perjury.
If fail to bring both of them I can normally convince the Trustee to continue the Meeting but you will need to come back to a second meeting which will delay your case and increase the time and effort you spend on this matter.
You need to be ON TIME for the Meeting.
Everyone has traffic and other issues so PLAN and be sure you are on time. Plan on being at the meeting room 10-15 minutes early so I can then tell you what to expect and you can tell me of any changes that have occurred since we last chatted or met.
If your case is called and you are not present I will leave and the Trustee will file the necessary paperwork to have your case dismissed.
The 341 meeting is not a test or an inquisition and usually takes about 5 minutes.
You do not have to justify filing bankruptcy. Creditors have been advised that the
Meeting will take place but in the vast majority of cases no creditors appear.
It is not necessary for you to wear a jacket and tie (if you are a man) or a dress (if you are a women) but when your case is called be sure you have removed any sun glasses or hats to avoid being told to do so by the Trustee in front of the entire room.
Do not bring food or drinks into the courtroom
Turn off cell phones and/or pagers
Remove your hats
Remove your gum
Keep your feet off the furniture, rails, or benches
Do not bring any electronic recording devices or cameras except those allowed by the Judge
The location of where you go for your 341 (Meeting of Creditors) depends on where you live. In the Notice from the Court as well as from a letter I will send you the location will be set out. Be sure you go to the right place.
Listed below are the places where it could be located:
Seattle, Tacoma, Bremerton, Everett
You MUST bring with you the following two items:
(1) A picture ID.
Any of the following are acceptable:
- Picture ID:
- state driver's license
- government ID
- state ID
- student ID
- U.S. passport
- military ID
- resident alien card or a
- Mexican consulate card ("matricula consular")
(2) Proof of your social security number.
Any of following are acceptable:
- social security card
- medical insurance card
- pay stub (if it has on it the full social security number- which is rare these days)
- W-2 form
- Internal Revenue Service Form 1099
- Social Security Administration report
The Trustee swears you in and looks at your ID and proof of social security number as I ask you a few basic questions. We will go over those questions before the hearing starts so the questions will be fresh in your mind. For the most part, I will ask the questions so that you will have to answer only "yes" or "no to each question. The meeting will be tape recorded.
After I have completed my questions the Trustee may or may not have a few additional questions. Be truthful and accurate in your answers. I will be sitting next to you and can sometimes help with the information the Trustee is asking about.
Basically, his questions will evolve around the value of your assets and your debts. As a general rule, the more complete the documents we have filed in your case are the fewer questions the Trustee will have.
In a chapter 13 the Trustee almost always has questions. They are normally easy to answer and, again, I can often assist.
Once the Trustee completes his questions he will ask if there are any creditors who wish to ask questions. Presuming none, you are free to leave. If the Trustee has asked for additional documents of some kind be sure to get them to me without delay so that your case can proceed smoothly