THE 341 NOTICE: INFORMATION FOR ME IN A CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCY?
In any bankruptcy case, the first thing a debtor receives from the Bankruptcy Court is the 341 notice also known as the Notice of Meeting of Creditors. There are many answers to your questions, if you only will read the notice. Even though document says that the first hearing is a meeting for creditors, you will need to attend that hearing. You must be present so that the Trustee and any creditors who wish to do so may ask you questions. The date and time of this hearing and the confirmation hearing are both listed on this notice and you need to plan to attend unless notified otherwise by you attorney. Many times, a debtor does not have to attend the confirmation hearing, but, a debtor(s) always has to attend the 341 hearing.
You need to look at the notice itself difficult and confusing. Take what the document tells you one step or line at a time and you will find it understandable most of the time. At the top, you will see the District your case was filed in as well as the date filed. Remember that your creditors are sent a notice just like this one in the same manner as you received your copy. You may get a phone call or a letter or two for a week to 10 days after you get your copy of the notice, but, if you are being contacted by a creditor after that time, you should be sure to contact your attorney. If the contact is by mail, you need to send a copy of the letter to your attorney including anything that may be on the back side of the letter.
If you are being contacted by telephone, get the name of the person calling, a phone number and find out who that person is working for and how to contact them. Always remember to write down the date and time of the call. Get this information before you tell the caller that you have filed bankruptcy. Most creditors record their phone calls to you and that record can be found with this information. If the creditor gets nasty with you when you tell them that you have filed bankruptcy, the creditor can be sued and punished for such conduct.
The notice you received from the Bankruptcy Court will have on it, your CASE NUMBER. Creditors will all want to know what your case number is. If you do not have a case number, you probably have NOT filed bankruptcy. When we file your case, we get your case number at once and will give that to you. Signing the paperwork is not filing your case. The CASE NUMBER is the only acceptable thing that lets you and a creditor know that your case is filed. Just as the check is in the mail, creditors have been told over and over that someone filed bankruptcy when no case has been filed and never will be filed.
As you go over the notice that was sent to you by the Court, you will see a last date to file a claim for non-governmental entities and the last date which is a later date for governmental agencies to file proofs of claim. These are important dates and you should check on your Trustee’s web site when the date passes to see if a claim has been filed by creditors that you want to make sure get paid. Many creditors chose not to file proofs of claim because they can go ahead and write off the debt you owed them against current income. If the creditor files a proof of claim, the creditor cannot know how much to write off until your case is completed and may not be able to deduct the unpaid money against current income.
If a claim is not filed by a creditor, that creditor will not get paid anything. This is a problem if the creditor is one who has a lien on your home and you are trying to catch up payments you have missed, want to have a paid for car when you finish your Chapter 13 bankruptcy case or have non-dischargeable taxes or past due alimony or support that would otherwise be paid in your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Plan.
If a creditor fails to file a proof of claim by the last date to file proofs of claims, then I can file a proof of claim for the creditor. Remember, I just told you where to find the deadline to file a proof of claim. I can only do this for 30 days after the deadline to file proofs of claim has passed. After that date, you will have to deal with these creditors after your your Chapter 13 bankruptcy is completed.
If you have questions about this procedure, contact Nathan Davis at 843-571-4042 for more information. Please remember that if you have an attorney already, I cannot speak to you about this issue.