The entire bankruptcy hearing process is very routine. As long as everything in your petition is accurate, there shouldn’t be any surprises.
Some of our clients worry themselves sick prior to the hearing. For many of them, this is the first time they have ever stepped into a courtroom. Once they discover how quick and to the point the process is, they realize they worried so much for nothing.
Your bankruptcy hearing is often referred to as a 341 Hearing or a Meeting of Creditors. You will hear it referred to as a 341 Hearing because 341(a) is the section of the Bankruptcy Code that allows the trustee to ask you questions on behalf of your creditors. It is called the Meeting of Creditors because this is an opportunity for the trustee, who represents your creditors best interests, to “meet” with you and verify that your schedules accurately reflect your current financial situation.
Although it is called a “Meeting of Creditors,” creditors seldom appear. Our office will make sure that you are prepared with a list of questions that the trustee often asks. Additionally, you will not be alone at the hearing. One or both of your attorneys will be there to represent you.
You will receive a notice from the bankruptcy court that tells you when and where the hearing is. You will also receive a letter from us with the details of your hearing. These letters are typically emailed to you from our office.
You should arrive 30 minutes prior to your scheduled hearing. If you do this you will be able to watch a hearing before it is your turn to go before the Trustee, unless your hearing is scheduled at 8:00 A.M. It often makes the process easier if you can see how it plays out prior to meeting with the trustee.
You must bring a current photo ID and your Social Security card. Without an ID you will not even be allowed to enter the building. The hearing will more than likely be continued. If your hearing is continued, it will cost you more in attorney fees and could delay your Discharge. Let us know right away if for some reason you do not have a current photo ID and your Social Security card.
If your hearing is held in Iowa, you will also be required to bring any pay stubs you have received since you filed.
Additionally, security will require you to check in your phone upon arrival and return it to you once you leave. It may be easier if you just leave your phone locked securely in your vehicle and you won’t have to hassle with that at all.