What to Expect at a 341 Meeting in Pittsburgh
In Pittsburgh, the first meeting of creditors in a case under chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code is not scheduled until all of the required documents are filed or submitted to the bankruptcy court. For consumer debtors, those documents include a voluntary petition for relief in a case under chapter 7, a statement of intent, schedules disclosing assets, liabilities, income and expenses, a statement of financial affairs and a means test. Additionally, debtors whose bankruptcy lawyers electronically file documents in their cases must submit a document bearing their social security numbers and original signatures of the debtors and their counsel which is received by the bankruptcy clerk but is not available to the public. Debtors must also complete pre-bankruptcy credit counseling and submit their certificates of counseling before the meeting of creditors is scheduled.
The Notice of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case
The Notice of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case provides important information to the debtors and their lawyers as well as to creditors and other parties in interest in the bankruptcy case. The notice will include the name and contact information for the chapter 7 trustee assigned to the case. In Pittsburgh, cases are typically assigned to trustees who serve on a panel of trustees. One of the trustee’s important duties is to scrutinize debtors’ bankruptcy filings and to make certain that they are complete and accurate. A chapter 7 trustee will also determine whether there may be assets available to make a distribution to the holders of unsecured claims.
The Notice of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case will also include the location of the meeting in downtown Pittsburgh and the date and time of the meeting. Additionally, the Notice will provide important deadlines for creditors to exercise rights against the debtor and information about filing a proof of claim and debtors’ exemptions.
The Chapter 7 Meeting of Creditors in Pittsburgh
The chapter 7 trustee will begin the meeting by reviewing the debtor’s photo identification and social security card. Next the trustee will have the debtors solemnly swear or affirm to tell the truth. The meeting will be recorded and the audio or transcript can be made available if necessary for use later in the case.
Your bankruptcy lawyer will prepare you for the questions that the trustee will focus upon. There are certain questions that the trustee must ask in order to complete the forms required to close the meeting. Your bankruptcy lawyer will also accompany you at the meeting of creditors and will enter his or her appearing on the record of the meeting. If you don’t understand a question or the legal significance of certain matters, your bankruptcy attorney will help explain them to you.
Typical meetings of creditors in chapter 7 cases in Pittsburgh are brief affairs lasting less than 10 minutes. More complex cases or cases with extensive creditor participation may extend longer. Your bankruptcy lawyer will have you prepared for your meeting of creditors and you will know what to expect before your meeting is called. The 341 meeting of creditors in Pittsburgh is an important step in the direction of getting a discharge in case under chapter 7 and being awarded a fresh start.