Choosing To Change Your Finances

5 Steps to Prepare for a Bankruptcy 341 Meeting

by Luis Hawkins

One of the most important steps in bankruptcy is a procedure known as a 341 meeting. The purpose of this meeting is to ensure that the information given to the court is correct and allow the creditors to ask questions relevant to repayment. The more prepared you are for this meeting, the better results you will get. To help you prepare, here are five key things to do before your 341 meeting. 

1. Read Everything.

The bankruptcy trustee will ask you, under oath, if you have read and are personally familiar with the content in your bankruptcy petition, all schedules, any written statements, and related documents. The myriad of legal information in a bankruptcy case can be daunting, but you must show that you understand what you're agreeing to and that the information is correct to your knowledge. 

2. Go Over Assets and Debts. 

The list of assets you own and debts you carry must be complete for the bankruptcy to go on. Creditors must be able to rely on it and completeness ensures all your debts can be discharged. So take the time to go over your lists again and ensure you didn't forget anything. Common errors include not listing debts owed to friends or family, assets not in your control, items you co-own with others, and personal property. 

3. File Your Taxes.

Have you filed all your state and federal income taxes for the last four years? Filing tax forms is a mandatory part of bankruptcy and you likely cannot continue until you've done so. Make sure you or your attorney has copies of all these tax returns and that you let the trustee know if you still expect any refunds to be issued. 

4. Write Down any Transfers.

Transferring assets to another person or paying back money to a friend or relative before bankruptcy can look like bankruptcy fraud. So look at your bank records and think back over the last year to see if you have made any potentially troublesome transfers. If so, prepare a statement explaining why this was done. 

5. Plan for Secured Debt.

Secured debt, typically vehicles and houses, is handled differently than unsecured loans. Do you intend to keep the property or give back the collateral? If you plan to keep it, what is your plan for paying the loan and any arrears? Prepare as detailed a financial plan as possible to convince these creditors and the trustee that you can pay these loans. 

Want to know more about preparing for a 341 meeting? No matter what stage you're in, meet with a bankruptcy attorney to learn more. They will help you be as prepared as you can be so your meeting goes smoothly and you receive the discharge you deserve.