I Filed Bankruptcy, What’s Next? What Is A 341 Hearing?
So you have taken a huge step an filed for Arizona bankruptcy protection? Congratulations – you are one step closer to a debt free life. Your creditors will no longer be bothering you, so feel free to plug your phone back into the wall.
I bet you are wondering what happens next. Well, a 341 hearing is likely on your list of things to do.
“What is a 341 hearing,” you ask? It is an informal hearing in which the bankruptcy trustee is given an opportunity to question the debtor (and attorney) about their case.
My clients have a tendency to get pretty worked up about these meeting. As I always say, these hearings are pretty informal. However, there are a few things you should know.
Below I have taken an except directly from the website of David Birdsell. Mr. Birdsell just so happens to be an Arizona chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee. Who better to advise you on your 341 hearing? (That is, other than your bankruptcy lawyer of course).
This is an informal hearing between you, your trustee, and any creditors which may choose to appear. You will not be appearing before a judge.
When your name is called, you will leave your picture ID and proof of social security with the trustee’s assistant to verify that you are who you say you are. IF YOU FAIL TO BRING PROOF OF ID OR SOCIAL SECURITY, YOUR HEARING WILL BE CONTINUED TO A LATER DATE. You will then be asked to move to the witness table where you will be questioned.
The trustee will ask you to raise you right hand and take an oath stating that what you are about to say is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth under the penalty of perjury. Remember that failing to tell the truth is a criminal offense. Perjury is investigated and prosecuted by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney.
The proceeding is recorded. You are to answer questions verbally. Do not shake or nod your head or provide an “Mnn…mnn” answer.
You will the be seated and the trustee will ask you as series of questions. Once the above questions have been answered, any creditor (if present) will have an opportunity to ask questions. The trustee may also have additional questions about your documents, schedules, etc.
When the questioning period is over, the trustee will then let you know when you can leave and your hearing will be completed.
So, what have we learned here? Don’t forget your driver’s license and social security card – you will need them at your 341 hearing (husband AND wife).
In addition, RELAX. There is no need to get all excited about your 341 hearing. Unless you are hiding bank accounts in Hawaii or assets under the name of a family member, we should breeze through this hearing.
Oh, and if you are wondering the consequences of committing perjury and lying in your bankruptcy, be sure to check out the link provided. Pretty accurate, in my experience.