All debtors are required to attend a meeting of creditors in their bankruptcy case. It is also commonly called the “341 meeting” since it is required by 11 U.S.C. §341. At the meeting the debtor is required to testify under oath regarding his or her finances. The trustee and any of your creditors in attendance are allowed to ask questions. The meeting of creditors is usually scheduled around 40 days after your filing date. The trustee presiding over your filing will ask you to bring certain documents of his or her review. The trustee also asks the majority of the questions because most creditors do not actually attend the meeting. It is important to note that a debtor’s failure to appear at the 341 meeting could result in the case being delayed or even dismissed.
Prior to your hearing date, your attorney and/or your trustee will send you a notice of the documentation you will need to bring with you. Common examples include government issued form of identification (driver’s license or passport) and proof of your social security number (social security card, employer issued W2, or similar documentation).
When preparing for the meeting of creditors, you should review all of the pleadings that have been filed in your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 case. You will want to answer the trustee’s questions clearly and concisely, without rambling. Below are a few examples of questions a trustee will ask:
- Have you reviewed the paperwork filed in your case and is it true and correct?
- Have you listed all of your debts and everyone that you owe money to?
- What is your current address?
- Do you expect an inheritance or other type of windfall anytime soon?
- Did you incur any of your debts with the intent of discharging them in bankruptcy?
Although the meeting of creditors is a casual hearing, you should still dress appropriately and arrive early. For many debtors, this is the only time you will be required to appear in court. It is imperative that you are honest and make full financial disclosures.
Finally, your bankruptcy attorney will be with you at the meeting of creditors and available to help you. While it is normal to feel nervous about attending this hearing, you will likely be surprised at how simple it is.
The personal bankruptcy process can be simple and effortless if you retain an attorney who will explain the steps to you. Ms. Anderson is dedicated to walking you through each step, explaining the process along the way. At The Law Office of Diane Anderson, we are determined to help our clients obtain the best results possible.