What to Expect in a NJ Bankruptcy 341 Meeting

If you have filed for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will be required to attend a 341 meeting. Named after the section of the bankruptcy code that defines it, this meeting is where you meet with the trustee appointed to your case by the NJ bankruptcy court. The trustee will be able to question you under oath about your finances, assets, liabilities, and other things related to your bankruptcy case. Here, we will break down what you can expect and how we can help you prepare for your 341 meeting.

You will be joined in your 341 meeting by your attorney, the trustee handing your case, a court-appointed representative, and any creditors who choose to attend the meeting. Most of the time meetings are scheduled in clusters, so you may have a short wait before you are called for your meeting with the trustee. You will be permitted to refer to relevant documents during the meeting if needed.

341 meetings typically only last 10-30 minutes. In that time, the trustee will ask you some standard questions about your bankruptcy petition. The trustee will ask to see a photo ID as well as your social security card. They will also have you confirm on the record that the signature on your bankruptcy petition is yours. Additional questions can include:

  • Verifying your familiarity with the details of your bankruptcy petition.
  • Verifying the accuracy and completeness of the information in the petition.
  • Correcting any errors in the petition.
  • Ensuring all assets and liabilities are included.
  • Any previous bankruptcy petitions.
  • Information verifying employment and confirming the accuracy of your tax returns.

If any creditors are present they may ask some questions, but their scope is limited. Once the trustee has asked all of their questions, you will be free to go. Sometimes, the meeting will be deemed “not closed” if the trustee wants additional documentation. If you submit the required documentation promptly you should be able to avoid having to go to another 341 meeting.

Your attorney will be able to guide you through this process to ensure you understand the questions and provide full answers. You will meet with your attorney before the 341 meeting so they can go over necessary information with you and prepare you for any questions they anticipate will being asked. After the meeting is over, your attorney will let you know next steps going forward.

Veitengruber Law is experienced in handling bankruptcy cases. From your free consultation to the day your debt is resolved, we will be there for you throughout the entire process. We will help you prepare for your 341 meeting and provide caring, effective legal support throughout your bankruptcy case.

Bankruptcy Discovery: 341 Hearing Vs 2004 Exam

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During the course of your bankruptcy case, a lot of time and effort will be spent in the discovery phase to ensure that all pertinent details are out in the open for examination.

One way the bankruptcy trustee can gather information during the fact-finding portion of your case is at the 341 hearing, which is also known as the Meeting of the Creditors. The 341 hearing is often relatively short and although any of your creditors are invited to attend, they usually do not. You, however, are required to attend the 341 hearing.

At the 341 hearing, you’ll be asked to show some financial documents, including: your mortgage statement or lease agreement, banking statements, most recent pay stubs, deeds to any property you own, your most recent tax returns (or any specific returns as requested) and proper photo ID.

Your bankruptcy trustee is in charge of organizing and running the Meeting of the Creditors. The trustee will ask you a variety of basic questions pertaining to your bankruptcy case, ranging from your reason for filing to whether or not you have filed for bankruptcy in good faith. Any creditors who may attend may ask you questions about your intentions; for example – your vehicle loan company may ask whether you plan to reaffirm your auto loan after your bankruptcy case. In general, the Meeting of the Creditors is not a cause for anxiety.

While a 341 hearing is a common proceeding in any bankruptcy case, if the trustee or any of your creditors feel that there are problems with some of your answers or that you are withholding information, a 2004 Examination may be warranted. Lesser-known than the Meeting of the Creditors, the 2004 Exam takes a deeper look at your finances if questions cannot be answered sufficiently at the 341 hearing.

Derived from Rule 2004 of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, the 2004 Examination comes into play when more information is needed in order to proceed with your case. Unlike the 341 hearing, a 2004 exam is more like a deposition, and you will be questioned more intensely.

Typically, a 2004 Exam is requested by either the bankruptcy trustee or one of your creditors when something in your bankruptcy documents and/or financial paperwork raises a red flag. They may have reason to believe that you or a family member:

  • Continued to run up debts immediately prior to filing for bankruptcy
  • Gave preferential payments to one or more of your creditors
  • Have suspicious bank transactions
  • Made a transfer of property out of your name immediately prior to your bankruptcy filing date

Sometimes, the trustee simply needs more information. Many times, financial documents are incomplete, complicated or may need clarification. You may very well still be able to move forward with your bankruptcy even if a 2004 Exam is requested.

You should, however, be prepared for a rather extensive questioning session at the 2004 Exam. Make sure that your answers are as forthcoming as possible so that your bankruptcy will proceed toward discharge or reorganization, allowing you to get the fresh start you need. Your bankruptcy attorney will help you understand what will likely be asked at the 2004 Exam, and he will attend the Examination with you.