If you are filing for bankruptcy, you will have to attend what is commonly known as a “341 meeting” of creditors.
This will not be a court appearance, but rather a meeting held in a less formal environment. The outcome, however, will be important to the disposition of your bankruptcy case.
The meeting explained
The 341 meeting takes its name from Section 341 in Title 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. This part of the Code requires that all debtors be present at a meeting of their creditors. Debtors must also answer questions under oath concerning their financial status, assets and liabilities, and anything else that is pertinent to their bankruptcy case.
Who is in charge
If you are filing Chapter 7, 12 or 13, a trustee appointed by the United States Trustee will lead the meeting. If you are filing Chapter 11, you can expect to see a representative of the Office of the United States Trustee, who will take charge of the hearing, which is usually set between 21 and 40 days following your bankruptcy filing.
Notification of creditors
Your creditors will receive notification of the meeting and told that they may attend. However, creditors do not usually come to the hearing; they know that their absence does not affect their rights in your bankruptcy case.
The trustee or representative will ask pertinent questions to learn more about your circumstances in order to more effectively administer your case. The hearing itself may only last for a few minutes, but the trustee or representative may continue it if he or she feels the information you provide is not adequate.
Your attorney will likely provide documents to the trustee or representative in advance of the 341 meeting. These items might include your bank statements, mortgage documents, tax returns and the like. You should bring appropriate identification, such as a photo ID, your Social Security card and any other required information or documents. If you are organized and well-prepared, you should not be concerned. Remember that the 341 meeting is the next step on the path to becoming free from debt.