So many of my clients are worried about what will happen at their 341 hearing.

There are many reasons you are scared.  Many of you have never been to court.   The hearing is called the “Meeting of Creditors” so many of you think American Express is going to come interrogate you about every coffee you have ever purchased at a Starbucks.

Don’t worry.  Do not let this hearing keep you up at night.

Your hearing is not something to worry about.  You will be in a conference room with twenty people just like you, a trustee will be sitting at a conference table, they will ask you a series of questions that we have already sent you and aren’t designed to trick you, and you will leave afterwards and be DONE….

Unless of course any of the following apply to you:

1.  You have a private jet you failed to tell me about.

2.  You plan to wear a $25,000 engagement ring to the hearing.

3.  You transferred $25,000 to your brother’s checking account 4 days before you filed bankruptcy.

4. You deposited a signing or moving bonus of $20,000 to your checking account three days before you filed.

5. You were given a Jaguar as a birthday gift by a relative after you filed.

6.  You took a $50,000 second mortgage and went on a shopping spree three weeks before you filed.

7.  You took a personal loan from your credit union and went on a shopping spree before you filed.

8.  You continuously changed the name of your business in order to dupe a supplier into selling you more stuff when you owe them money.

9.  You have called my office and asked for permission to buy more jewelry on a Kay Jewelers card just one more time and want to know how long you need to wait to file to get to keep said jewelry without that being a problem.

So as you can see unless you were out doing naughty things before you filed a bankruptcy case you will probably be ok at your hearing and can get through your hearing and the close of your case fairly easily.

So try not to worry too much about your hearing, we will get you through.

New Jersey Bankruptcy Attorney Bruce Truesdale First Consultation Prepare

Preparing For Your First Bankruptcy Consultation

By: Bruce C. Truesdale

Talking to a bankruptcy attorney for the first time can be scary.

Really scary.

And it is scary for good reason.  Many of the people I meet with have never met with a lawyer in their life.  You are opening up to a strange and actually facing your financial troubles, which is no easy thing to do.  This is tough stuff.

So let’s say you have talked to me on the phone.  You have made an appointment and I have sent you the documents to gather list.

A couple of things I want you to bear in mind when you come in:

1.  It is ok to cry.

We go through a lot of Kleenex in our office.  I tell my clients all the time they won’t be the first to cry and they won’t be the last.  If you are up for it I will even crack a joke about how our firm should really buy stock in Kleenex tissues.  Don’t worry about spending half the appointment crying and don’t feel like you have to apologize for crying or being upset.  This is hard, we get it, we see it all the time.  It is ok to be upset.  Plus, I buy the Kleenex with the lotion in them so if you cry a lot your nose won’t get puffy.  It will be our little secret.

2. You don’t have to have it totally together at our first meeting.

Many of our clients think that they have to bring every single document on the what to bring list to the first appointment.  They will call my office and say they need to cancel because they don’t have all of the documentation.

Don’t do that.  Come anyway.  We can get the rest of your documentation later.  Assuming that your case is not an emergency filing to stop a car from being re-possessed or a sheriff sale we can take our time putting your case together.   We can always come back later and get the rest of the documents.  You can scan them and email them, fax them, send them pony-express.  We will get your documentation together and your case will get filed.  It does not have to be perfect at our first meeting.  No need to get too worked up about documents at this point.

3. We are going to spend some time with you.  

If you are coming in to retain and do a worksheet my staff is going to spend at least an hour with you.  We are going to go over all of your documents, personal finance information, property, all of it.  It can feel a bit intrusive.  Myself and my associate try to keep the mood light while still taking your concerns and emotions seriously (my associate, Sarah, is particularly good at getting people through the worksheet smiling).  Our goal is to have you leave the appointment feeling better but doing so takes time so plan on being with us for an hour.

4.  Bring questions.

One of the things my associate will tell you on the phone when she speaks with you the first time and schedules your appointment is to get a piece of paper out and write down every question you think of about your bankruptcy filing between that phone consult and your first appointment.   Bring that piece of paper with you to your first appointment.

Why you ask?

Because she likes to joke that there is a memory wiper over our office door and the 25 questions you had as your were driving over to our office will be wiped from your memory as soon as you walk through the door.  Now, if you made yourself a nice list of questions on a piece of notebook paper, your cell phone, ipad, tablet, or a fast food napkin (this has happened and worked just fine) than the memory wiper is no trouble at all and we can go right down your list of questions easily without forgetting a thing.


Have more questions about how to get ready for your bankruptcy consultation?  Just give us a call at 732-302-9600 or fill out our online bankruptcy consultation form and we will be happy to talk to you!