So you’ve decided that you need to file a Utah chapter 7 bankruptcy and you’re wondering: What Should I Expect in my Chapter 7 Bankruptcy? Here’s an overview to answer that question.
When Will I Go To Court?
You won’t, unless something really unusual happens in your case. Most Utah chapter 7 bankruptcies never have any hearings or appearances with the Utah bankruptcy court. A bankruptcy judge will be assigned to your case, but usually the only interaction you will formally have with your bankruptcy is a meeting called a meeting of creditors and the judge will not be present. Your bankruptcy attorney will likely refer to the meeting as a 341 meeting.
What Is A 341 Meeting?
The 341 meeting is a formal meeting with the bankruptcy trustee and any other creditors who desire to attend and ask you questions under oath. The 341 meeting is essentially a deposition. Very few creditors attend the meeting. Creditors that do attend are usually secured creditors who want to ascertain your intentions with the secured property. In our experience creditors who attend want to either coordinate repossession of the secured property if you are surrendering the property, negotiate more favorable terms to keep the property, or negotiate a reaffirmation agreement. When you first arrive for the 341 meeting the trustee will provide general instructions to all the debtors scheduled for the 341 meeting session. He or she will then call each debtor or joint debtors up, place you under oath and then ask questions that he or she has.
What Questions Will the Trustee Ask?
The trustee has broad authority to ask you any questions about your finances, bankruptcy petition, and your assets. The trustee will ask you to state your name, address and possibly phone number for the record. The trustee will verify your identity by your driver’s license or other picture ID and your social security card. The trustee will also very briefly review your most recent tax return, bank statement(s) covering your bankruptcy petition date, and your most recent pay advise(s). The trustee will ask you if you read your bankruptcy petition before signing it and if you signed your petition. The trustee may ask other simple questions about whether you own real property, automobiles, your employment status, and about any expected tax returns.
What Happens After the 341 Meeting?
The 341 meeting is usually the only formal interaction that you will have with your Utah chapter 7 bankruptcy. Usually within 2-3 months after the 341 meeting you will receive a copy of the bankruptcy court’s order of discharge relieving you of financial responsibility for all your dischargeable debt.
What If I Miss the 341 Meeting?
Attendance at the 341 meeting is mandatory. If you miss your 341 meeting, your case will be dismissed, unless you file a motion to reschedule. Most Utah chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys will charge an additional fee to reschedule, so it is imperative that you rearrange your schedule to attend.