What can I expect at the 341 meeting of creditors meeting in Arizona for my Chapter 7 bankruptcy case? (PART TWO)
So you found the Bankruptcy Court and now you are waiting to talk to the Trustee for your 341 meeting. Who is the Trustee? There are several different Chapter 7 Trustees in Maricopa County. The Trustee is not a Judge but a representative of the US Trustee’s office to oversee your assets. They will look at each case and see if there are any unprotected assets to liquidate for the benefit of the creditors.
Each Trustee has their own way of running the 341 meeting. Some Trustees will give an introductory speech to the group and other will just start the proceedings. Many will remind you that you received a notification that you will need two proofs of identification for the meeting (i.e. Driver’s License and Social Security Card, make sure they are approved identification cards).
Trustees will also request documentation for the 341 meeting. This usually comes in the form of a letter that you will receive about a week or two after you electronically file your case. Typically, this includes the past 2 years of taxes, insurance documentation, and bank statements. If you have not provided this information to the Trustee with enough time for them to review the documents, the Trustee will reschedule your 341 meeting so that you can either provide all of the information requested or to give them enough time to review the documents. The Trustee will also reschedule the meeting if you do not have your identification needed for the meeting. In my experience, they usually set the rescheduled 341 meeting about a month out from the day of your original 341 meeting. Nielsen Law Group can help you prepare your documents and send them to the Trustee so that you do not run into this issue. It helps to have an experienced bankruptcy lawyer, which has worked with Trustees in the past, to help collect the information requested by the Trustee.
The Chapter 7 Trustees will ask a series of questions for the 341 meeting. These questions can include:
1) Have you ever filed for bankruptcy before? If so, where?
2) How long have you resided in Arizona?
3) Did you review your bankruptcy schedules and petitions with your lawyer?
4) Do you owe child support or spousal maintenance?
After the Trustee asks the debtor their “standard” questions, they will typically ask the filers questions related to their filed petitions and schedules. If you have hired an attorney, the attorney will be sitting next to you during the entire meeting. The lawyer can help clarify any questions and may assist in answering questions asked by the Trustee or a creditor.
If a creditor wishes to ask the filer questions, they can do so at the 341 hearing. If you need a translator for the 341 hearing, let your attorney know in advance. The Trustee’s Office can call a service, which is provided free, to translate the 341 hearing over a speaker phone. If all of the information has been sent to the Trustee and the Trustee does not have any further questions for the debtor, the meeting will end. If the Trustee requires any information, the debtor will need to provide that information to the Trustee, usually within 3-10 days.
If there are no issues with the case, the Trustee will enter a discharge notice. It typically takes around 60-90 days to receive your discharge notice. Remember that the case has not been officially closed at this point and that there are some common follow up issues related to the case.
By: Eric M. Nolan (Licensed in Arizona)
Stay tuned for Part Three of this article!
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