341 Meeting of Creditors
When you file for bankruptcy in Missouri or Illinois, you will be required to attend a hearing at which your creditors may appear and ask you questions related to your debts. This hearing is called the ‘341 Meeting of Creditors.’ The name comes from Section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code, which states that all creditors listed in a person’s St. Louis bankruptcy filing will be given the opportunity to ask the debtor questions about his or her debts. This hearing is mandatory, but your St. Louis bankruptcy lawyer will be in attendance, sitting directly across from you.
It is a very rare occasion when a creditor actually makes an appearance at someone’s 341 hearing. But if the creditor does attend, your attorney will be there to advise you of your rights and make objections when necessary. In all reality, if a creditor shows up at your 341 hearing, it will be someone to whom you owe a personal debt. For instance, an ex-spouse or former business partner may appear to ask you questions. But they cannot attend simply to harass you. The Trustee will also keep your rights in mind while the hearing is being conducted, and make sure that the creditor maintains his or her composure.
Regardless of which creditors make an appearance, the Trustee will ask a series of questions to determine whether or not you have any assets which he/she may wish to liquidate. This would include real estate, automobiles, or personal property (like a bank account or tax refund). But these possessions can be exempted (in other words, your attorney can make sure that the Trustee is not able to get his hands on your stuff). These exemptions are made available by state statute, and only apply to certain pieces of property. For instance, if you have equity in your home, you may use the Homestead Exemption in Missouri. This particular exemption allows you to exempt (or get rid of) $15,000 of equity. This exemption can be decisive in whether or not you can keep your home.
The affordable St. Louis bankruptcy attorneys at The Law Office of Jennifer Alter-Rieken have been successfully representing our client’s interests at 341 hearings for over ten (10) years. We have attended hundreds of these meetings, and dealt with any number of situations with creditors over the years. But we firmly believe in making sure that no issues arise at all. And this is precisely why hiring an experienced, knowledgeable bankruptcy lawyer is crucial for your case.