Articles Posted in 341 Meeting of Creditors

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Roughly about 30 to 45 days after you file bankruptcy in Jacksonville, Florida, whether it is a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, you will be required to appear at the Meeting of Creditors, a/k/a the 341 Hearing, along with your attorney. At this meeting, your assigned Trustee places you under oath and asks you a series of questions about your Bankruptcy Petition and the supporting documents that you provided to him or her.

dedective46-150x150However, very recently I have had a lot of clients come to me very concerned and worried about this meeting. They want to know what to expect. The best thing you can do to be prepared is to know what types of questions the Trustee might ask you.

Here are a few sample questions of what your Trustee might ask you and things you should keep in mind when under oath at your 341 Meeting in Jacksonville:

1. Once you have been placed under oath, your Trustee will have you state your full legal name and your current residence and/or mailing address? Continue reading →

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debtWhen thinking about filing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Jacksonville, Florida, not knowing or understanding the Jacksonville Bankruptcy Process can make filing bankruptcy seem very overwhelming and scary. Not only are Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorneys asked about what to expect after filing bankruptcy; they are also asked what clients should and should not do before filing for bankruptcy. In order to help you better understand the Jacksonville Bankruptcy Process, please see below for a general timeline of events you should be familiar with.

6 to 8 Years Before Filing a Jacksonville Chapter 7 Bankruptcy:

If you filed a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy before AND received a discharge of your debts, then you will not be eligible to file a new Chapter 7 Bankruptcy before eight years after you filed your previous Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

If you filed a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy AND received a discharge, you might be able to file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy after six years if you paid a minimum of 70% of your unsecured claims.

1 Year Before Filing:

Your Bankruptcy Trustee can look back as far as one year for debts paid back to relatives or close business partners. What this means is that a payment made to a relative or business partner could be construed as a preferential payment over your other creditors. If this should happen, the Court could take the payment back from them in order to distribute it evenly to all of your other creditors.

This same concept holds true if you have tried to hide your assets from your creditors by transferring, destroying or hiding any of your property within one year of filing Bankruptcy. In this situation, the Trustee might deny a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy discharge and/or recover the property.

However, your Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorney may prefer that you wait two years to ensure there are no issues when you do file. Continue reading →

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A 341 meeting, also known as the “Meeting of Creditors,” is held roughly 30 days after you file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. A lot of clients feel very intimated about the thought of this meeting, but in reality, it can be quite short and very easy. Of course, this depends all on how well your bankruptcy petition was prepared and how truthful you were in your petition. In short, if you were truthful on your petition and prepared it to the best of your ability, then you should have nothing to worry about and your 341 meeting should go very smoothly.

What is the purpose of the 341 meeting?

The original purpose behind the 341 meeting was to give your creditors the opportunity to scrutinize your affairs. In other words, it is your creditors opportunity to try to find any assets you have that can be sold by your Trustee and then the proceeds dispersed amongst your creditors. However, in reality, creditors rarely attend these 341 meetings. Instead, it is another opportunity for the Trustee to ask you questions about your petition and the financial documents you previously provided to your Trustee. The Trustee is in essence searching for any asset you may have omitted accidentally or on purpose that can be sold to pay your creditors. Again, if you prepared your petition truthfully, then the meeting should not last very long.

Questions the Trustee may ask you at the 341 meeting.

It is always much less stressful going into an unknown situation if you can prepare yourself for it. Therefore, below is a list of questions the Trustee may or may not ask you at your 341 meeting.

State your name and current address for the record.

  1. State your name and current address for the record.
  2. Please provide your picture ID and social security number card for review.

a. If the documents are in agreement with the § 341(a) meeting notice, a suggested statement for the record is:

“I have viewed the original state of ________ drivers license (or other type of original photo ID) and original social security card (or other original document used for proof) and they match the name and social security number on the § 341 (a) meeting notice.”

If the documents are not in agreement with the 341(a) meeting notice, a suggested statement for the record is:

“I have viewed the original social security card (or other original document used for proof) and the number does not match the number on the § 341(a) meeting notice. I have instructed the debtor (or debtor’s counsel) to submit to the court an amended verified statement by [date], with notice of the correct number to all creditors, the United States Trustee, and the Trustee, and to file with the court a redacted copy of the notice, showing only the last four digits of the social security number, and a certificate of service.”

When the documents do not match the petition, the Trustee shall attempt to ascertain why, and shall report the matter to the United States Trustee.

If the debtor did not bring proof of identity and social security number, the Trustee shall determine why.

Continue reading →

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Jacksonville Bankruptcy LawyerAs a Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorney, I have situations all the time when clients ask whether or not they have to list all their property, or more specifically, how accurate do I need to be? Well the answer to that question is a person filing Bankruptcy should be VERY specific and detailed when filing their voluntary petition. This is best explained by a hypothetical situation.

You are a Florida resident and have decided to file for Bankruptcy. You seek the guidance and advice of a local Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorney. During your meetings you disclose your personal property but leave out some valuables because you don’t want to run the risk of loosing them to the Court. Next, you attend the required 341 hearing and swear under oath all your personal property is listed. The Bankruptcy continues, however, one day you return to your home to find it completely empty. The bank has come and cleaned out the house, in violation of the law. You go to your attorney who advises you to create a list of all the items missing. Upon inspection, your attorney discovers you have not listed all your personal property in the voluntary petition. He questions you. What happens now?

The answer is not as straightforward as one would hope. The client believes they will just file suit for the missing items and move on. However, several issues arise. First, you lied to your attorney and used their services to perpetrate fraud on the Court. They may choose to end representation because of your actions. Next, you lied to the Court, therefore, you committed perjury and your Bankruptcy may be thrown out. So, you could be left in a worse position then you would have been in the first place. Also, the property you didn’t list could be exempt for one reason or another, so your actions were for nothing!

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Who gets knowledge of a bankruptcy filingJacksonville Bankruptcy cases are a matter of public record. That means that anyone who wants to know whether someone has filed for bankruptcy can look it up. That being said, unless they’re already setup to do so, it’s not the easiest system to access. They have to use a credit card to sign up for the court docket service and must page $0.8 per page (changes depending on where they are) to view documents and search. If they don’t know the debtor’s social security number, this search can be difficult if not impossible, especially if they’re looking for a common name such as, “John Smith”. If they do find your case filing, they will not be able to view everything as some documents are kept private.

People who will get notice of a case filing are those to whom the debtor owes money, those with whom the debtor owes money, the debtor’s lawyer and the trustee appointed by the court.

Everyone who files for bankruptcy is required by 11 USC §341 to attend a hearing called a “341 Hearing”, it’s easy to see where it gets it’s name. This hearing is public, but is generally attended by only lawyers and other people filing for bankruptcy. There is a chance that a debtor could run into someone they know at a 341 hearing, but unless that person was a lawyer, they’re almost definitely declaring bankruptcy as well.

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While most debtors need only attend a single 341 hearing, Middle District Courts are now requiring that Pro Se debtors attend a hearing appraising them of their rights in respect to reaffirmation agreements if they are to be enforceable.

A reaffirmation agreement is a proposal to re-enter into a contract once a bankruptcy has ended, often with the same terms as the original agreement. Most often it functions to allow people to keep a financed car through a bankruptcy.

When people file for bankruptcy and have an attorney, their attorney appraises them of their rights and obligations when it comes to a reaffirmation. However, there are rare occasions when people attempt to file bankruptcy on their own or with a petition preparer (a non-lawyer who helps fill out forms but cannot give advice). When this happens, the Court has now ruled in In re Pitts, that an official hearing must occur at which time the Court will inform the debtor of their rights and obligations under the reaffirmed agreement. If this hearing does not occur, then the reaffirmation agreement will be deemed unenforceable.

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If you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must attend a 341 Meeting of Creditors at the federal courthouse. This is a hearing with the trustee, and any creditors are invited to attend, though usually they decline to. You will be put under Oath and asked to produce a photo I.D. and social security card. Then the trustee will ask you some questions. Here are some sample questions that a trustee might ask.

1. Are you personally familiar with the information contained in the petition, schedules, statements and related documents? To the best of your knowledge, is the information contained in the petition, schedules, statements, and related documents true and correct?

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

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In the majority of Florida bankruptcy cases including those in Jacksonville bankruptcy court, debtors do not have to appear in court for every hearing. However, debtors do have to attend a proceeding called the “meeting of creditors” or a “341 meeting”. At this meeting the debtor meets with the Florida bankruptcy trustee and any present creditors (who rarely attend). In Jacksonville the trustee and any present creditors ask the debtor a few questions about the financial documents the debtor filed with the court. The process takes just a few minutes and is normally pain-free if you are prepared for the questions and have discussed your answers with a Jacksonville Bankruptcy Lawyer.

The only time the debtor may have to appear in court is if a creditor or the bankruptcy Trustee files a motion or an adversary action, or if the debtor’s Jacksonville Bankruptcy Lawyer chooses to dispute a debt.

Normally these hearings are not included in a standard bankruptcy fee and you should discuss the costs with your Jacksonville Bankruptcy Lawyer.

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In Jacksonville when someone files for bankruptcy, they must attend a 341 Meeting of Creditors. This is a meeting at the federal courthouse where the creditors in your Florida bankruptcy case get a chance to show up and speak regarding their claims in your case. Most of the time, creditors do not show up to the meeting, and it is just you, your Jacksonville bankruptcy attorney, and the trustee. In Jacksonville the trustee will ask you questions regarding your case.

Some sample questions include:

Does anyone owe you money?

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The 341 Meeting is one of the first hearings that happens in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. The 341 Meeting is a meeting with the judge and trustee where you will be asked a series of questions pertaining to your Jacksonville Bankruptcy petition. You must attend the 341 Meeting. If someone told you that you need not attend, they are probably misinformed.

This is an important part of all Jacksonville Bankruptcy proceedings and it is very important that you attend this meeting. At the 341 meeting, you’ll answer several questions. The questions may differ slightly, but generally the court will ask you to explain how your debt situation evolved, what actions you’ve taken with your property, and the status of other financial information. You must answer these questions truthfully if you want your bankruptcy petition to be successful.

With a Bankruptcy in Jacksonville, The 341 meeting takes place at the federal courthouse and can be intimidating if you do not know what to expect. You may want to get to the courthouse early in order to watch some other 341 hearings before yours; this will let you become comfortable with the environment and the questions that you might be asked. Not all 341 proceedings are the same (each debtor has different creditors who may or may not attend); however, if you feel uncomfortable, you have the right to a Bankruptcy Lawyer at your 341 hearing.

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