Why A Bankruptcy 341 Hearing Is No Big Deal
There is nothing glamorous about being in financial trouble. We want you to know this – you are not alone. Many people from all walks of life are struggling with their debt load, regardless of their income level. We hear about supposedly “rich and famous” people having to file for bankruptcy all the time.
If you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy, that is okay. What you need to do is seek assistance from a qualified and experienced Arizona bankruptcy attorney as soon as possible to go over your financial situation and make a plan moving forward.
Today, we want to discuss one of the most dreaded parts of a bankruptcy proceeding – the 341 hearing.
What Is It?
A 341 hearing is called that because it is part of the requirements set forth in section 341 of the bankruptcy code. This is the time you will need with the trustee of the bankruptcy case. This is also called the “meeting of the creditors,” though it is unlikely any of them will attend.
- What can you expect?
- Is this a court appearance?
While there is a possibility you will be in a courtroom, you may not be. In most cases, especially for Chapter 7 proceedings, 341 hearings only take a few minutes.
There should not be any surprises at a 341 hearing. At this point, you will have already discussed everything with your attorney. You are there because the trustee has a job to do – ensure that your creditors are getting as much as possible out of you.
Wait, that seems scary?
Again, you already know what is happening. The trustee is looking to make sure there are no assets or property left off of your bankruptcy papers. Your attorney has already taken care of this.
Some questions that may come up, but are likely already answered include,
- Has each of your assets been disclosed?
- How did you calculate the value of these assets?
- Are all of your creditors listed?
- Has your financial situation changed since you filed for bankruptcy?
- Have you filed your tax returns and will you be due a refund?
- What types of credit have you used in the last year?
*Please know that Arizona does not have protections in place for many income tax credits you may be eligible for. This means you could lose most of your return due to bankruptcy proceedings.
But, my assets. Am I going to lose everything?
You are not going to lose everything. By the time your 341 hearing rolls around, you (or your attorney) have already filed for all available exemptions for things like:
- Your home, up to $150,000
- A range of personal property (furniture, appliances, electronics) up to $6,000
- A vehicle up to $6,000 in value ($12,000 if the person or their spouse is disabled)
- Up to 75% of a person’s disposable income
- Food and fuel for six months
- Retirement savings and pensions
- Clothing up to $500
Let An Attorney Be Your Guide
Bankruptcy proceedings can become incredibly complex for individuals to tackle on their own, as you can see by some of the issues discussed above. The paperwork alone is overwhelming for someone who does not specialize in this for a living. Making a mistake can land you right back at square one, all while your debt continues to pile up.
If you are thinking about filing, seek help from a skilled bankruptcy attorney in Arizona. You will gain peace of mind that the entire process will be completed correctly and you can be well on the way towards regaining financial stability.
Find out about how bankruptcy terms can be confusing.