I have seen many ways Creditor Meetings (341a Meetings) can go wrong for Pro Se Debtors. A few major lessons to be learned and which Pro Se Debtors should be aware are as follows:
- Make sure to have proof of social security number and a valid government issued picture idea.
- Tax Returns should be provided to your Chapter 7 Trustee MORE than 7 days before your hearing.
- Without the previously mentioned documents there is a chance your hearing won’t go forward.
- If you’ve repaid a debt to a relative in the 12 months prior to bankruptcy beware.
- If you’ve transferred property for less than fair market value within 4 years of bankruptcy similarly beware.
- If you have rental real property, the homestead exemption does not protect your equity. I see people try this all the time.
- Your expenses are higher than you think they are. Make sure you think through them carefully and evaluate what you used to charge on your credit cards when analyzing your expenses in Schedule J.
- Your Schedule J should be higher than your Schedule I or you wouldn’t have your financial problems.
- Make sure to complete your second class debtor education and present the certificate to the court or you will not get a discharge.
To avoid the pitfalls listed above, retain the Law Office of Klavir & Associates.
However, if hiring a bankruptcy attorney is simply not feasible, I often recommend Nolo’s incredible resource on the topic of How to File For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. It is one of the most comprehensive and inexpensive resources on the topic. It is also found in most public libraries.