America is facing a difficult time right now, and many people are looking for ways to make ends meet. Unfortunately, bankruptcy has long been overlooked for the powerful financial tool that it is. For too long bankruptcy has been viewed as a failure rather than as a legitimate option for those facing difficult times.
The Law Offices of Phillippe and Associates believes that this stigma needs to change, and we would be proud to help you take advantage of the assistance that filing for bankruptcy represents.
The best way to get the most out of the bankruptcy filing process is to be prepared. To that end, our team of Brownsville bankruptcy lawyers has gathered some information to help you prepare for one of the bigger steps in the bankruptcy filing process: the 341 hearing, also known as the meeting of creditors.
Preparing for Your Meeting
At the 341 hearing, you will meet with the trustee overseeing your case. The trustee will verify all of the information involved in the filing, so make sure that all of the information in your filing documents is completely accurate.
If you find out that some part of the information in your filing is incorrect or missing, you will need to take steps to correct it as soon as possible. This may entail filing an amendment before your hearing or bringing all relevant information to the 341 hearing to share with your trustee.
One of the most common mistakes, surprising as it may seem, is in the portion where the filer puts their own name. This shows how important it is to check every detail.
What You’ll Need at the Hearing
Most of the information and documentation you will need is simply for the purpose of verifying your identity. This means that you will need each of the following items:
- A valid photo I.D.
- Social security card or verification of your social security number
- Documentation of any financial changes that have occurred since filing
Before the hearing, it’s likely that your trustee will have already requested several forms of documentation including paycheck stubs, income tax returns, bank statements, and retirement statements. You may also wish to bring a copy of your filing documents to refer to during the hearing.
What Happens During the Hearing
On the day of your hearing, you’ll want to arrive at the courthouse early. Parking at courthouses can be notoriously difficult, and you’ll want extra time to find the right room. The hearing will be attended by the trustee and any creditors who wish to ask questions; although, if the trustee thinks the creditor’s question will take too much time, they may wish to reschedule.
Generally, 341 hearings are only about ten minutes long. The trustee will ask a series of routine questions to verify the information on your documents and any questions they may have. A trustee’s job is to make sure your creditors get as much money as possible, so they will look for any sources of income not mentioned in your filing
Typical questions your trustee may ask include:
- Have all of your assets been disclosed?
- Did you include all of your creditors?
- Have you filed your tax returns as they come due?
- Are you owed money by anyone for any reason?
- Did you review your petition before filing it with the court?
- Is all of the information in your bankruptcy filing accurate?
- Are you required to pay any alimony, child support, or other domestic support obligations?
- Have you ever filed for bankruptcy in the past?
The Law Offices of Phillippe and Associates: Your Brownsville Bankruptcy Lawyers
Struggling financially is nothing to be ashamed of, and bankruptcy is not a financial death sentence. If you are looking for ways out from under an unmanageable mountain of debt, filing for bankruptcy protection may be the best option for you and your family.
In this difficult time, the Law Offices of Phillippe and Associates are operating via telecommunication and in-person while taking the proper precautions. If your business has accrued debt because of the COVID-19 pandemic and you need legal assistance, we’re here to help.