Will I have to go to court if I file bankruptcy?

If I file a chapter 7 bankruptcy, will I have to go to court?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions we get from both our Baton Rouge and Metairie bankruptcy clients. We understand, court can seem intimidating because of how it is portrayed on TV shows and in the media, but that’s not at all how things proceed in Louisiana bankruptcy court.

The simple answer: Yes, you will need to appear in court when you file chapter 7 bankruptcy in Louisiana. You will usually only need to appear once: this meeting is called a 341 Meeting or a Meeting of Creditors.

Don’t stress-out just yet, we’ll tell you exactly what to expect:

First, let’s talk about what bankruptcy court looks like, because it’s not at all like the criminal courtrooms you see on TV. You won’t need to go up on a stand and there is no judge or jury. Instead, you’ll sit at a large table, with your attorney next to you, and you’ll answer questions for your bankruptcy trustee. This meeting is called a 341 creditors meeting, so there may be a creditor attorney or two present, but usually their only questions to you will be if you plan on reaffirming property such as your car or home. Your main interaction will be with your bankruptcy trustee.

Now, let’s talk about the type of questions your trustee may ask you:

Your bankruptcy trustee’s main job is to ensure all the information that you’ve given the court is accurate and complete. Your bankruptcy attorney will have you well prepared to answer these questions because you’ve already answered them for him or her. Essentially, your trustee is just trying to ensure nothing was missed or inaccurately reported in your bankruptcy filing.

Your bankruptcy trustee may ask you questions like:

  1. Did you give any money to family members or friends within 6 months of filing your bankruptcy case?
  2. Have you filed your tax returns this year and did you receive a refund?
  3. Do you own any property that you did not list in your bankruptcy paperwork?
  4. Did you move from one state to another within 6 months of filing?
  5. Have you owned a business in the last six years?
  6. I see you listed your home value as______, is that correct?

These are all questions that you know the answers to and that your attorney will have reviewed with you before filing your case. That doesn’t seem that bad now; does it? There is no cross-examination and no verdict to fear; as long as you’re honest and answer to the best of your abilities everything will go smoothly.

Do you have more questions about what happens in bankruptcy court, the type of questions you might be asked or other general questions about bankruptcy? Call our Baton Rouge or Metairie office today, to schedule your free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

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