When you file for bankruptcy in Oklahoma, you are required to attend a meeting of creditors known as the 341 meeting. The court clerk schedules this hearing about 30 days after the filing of your bankruptcy petition.
Although the prospect of facing your creditors seems intimidating, the proceeding is not designed to trap you or make you feel ashamed that you sought debt relief. Think of it as a fact-finding expedition that gives your creditors an opportunity to ask questions and understand your situation.
What Happens Before the Meeting?
Before attending the hearing, you will have to assemble all documentation requested by your creditors, which may include:
- Recent pay stubs
- Several months’ worth of pay statements
- Tax documentation for up to two years
- Car and home insurance paperwork
You are allowed to have a bankruptcy attorney represent you at the 341 meeting, but most people still have to appear at the hearing with their attorney.
What Happens at the Meeting?
During the meeting, which usually lasts around 5 to 15 minutes and is presided over by the trustee, you will answer questions about your assets, debts, and bankruptcy petition under oath. The trustee will confirm the information you provide, determine if any necessary documents are missing, and record the entire session to create an official record of the proceedings.
Don’t be surprised if none of your creditors show up. If they object to your Chapter 13 payment plan or want to challenge your Chapter 7 discharge, they don’t have to do so in person. Creditors usually attend the 341 if they believe you have committed fraud, but if your filing is honest and straightforward, you likely won’t see them.
What Questions Are Asked?
Before the hearing begins, the trustee will swear you in and give you the opportunity to read a prepared statement covering why you are seeking bankruptcy protection and itemizing all your debts. Then the trustee and any creditors present will ask questions that may include:
- What is your name, address, and social security number?
- How did you calculate the value of the assets on your petition?
- Is the petition an accurate representation of all your debts and assets?
When you finish answering all questions, creditors may submit a challenge if any of your debts appear to walk a fine line between dischargeable and non-dischargeable obligations, but this doesn’t happen frequently.
In most cases, the 341 hearing is a formality and simply one more step in your quest for debt relief. While you should respect it as an important proceeding, there is no need to be intimidated and afraid. If you wish, your bankruptcy attorney can attend the meeting with you to make sure that you understand all questions and that your rights are protected.
If you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy in Oklahoma, contact the Law Offices of B. David Sisson for a confidential consultation. Attorney Sisson will advise you of your options, help you submit the bankruptcy petition, and even represent you at the meeting of creditors so that you begin your debt relief journey with a clear understanding of what lies ahead.