What to expect at your 341 meeting or Meeting of Creditors

After you file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, you will be scheduled for a 341 Meeting, also known as the “meeting of creditors.” It will take place at least 21 days after filing your case but no later than 40 days after you file for bankruptcy. It is mandatory that you attend the meeting or else your bankruptcy case can be dismissed.

Knowing what to expect at a 341 Meeting can help you prepare for and successfully complete it so you can have your debts discharged.

Facts About the 341 Meeting of Creditors

The Meeting Doesn’t Take Place in a Courtroom

Your meeting will usually take place in a regular room located in the bankruptcy court. It will essentially be a public meeting with other bankruptcy filers present.

Who Attends the Meeting

There will be no judge present since judges are not allowed to attend. Your Chapter 7 trustee will be there since he/she will conduct the meeting.

Creditors usually will not show up for a 341 Meeting since they are not required to attend. However, there are certain situations where you can expect to see them at the meeting. If, for example, you have a boat that you didn’t disclose, the creditors will attend to find out the location of the property. Also, if you owe creditors money for a home or car, they will appear to find out if you intend to keep the property and ask about the condition of the property.

Another common situation where creditors will attend the meeting is if you used your credit cards just before filing for bankruptcy. The creditors will want to know if you intend to repay the credit cards or if you are filing for bankruptcy in good faith.

What You Need to Bring to the Meeting

There are certain documents you will need to bring to the meeting. You must bring a photo ID (driver’s license or other government-issued ID) and your Social Security card or other government document containing your Social Security number (W-2’s, military ID). Without these documents, the 341 Meeting will not be conducted and you will have to reschedule the meeting.

Your Chapter 7 trustee may also require that you bring additional documents to the meeting and will notify you about what to bring. Typical documents include:

  • Property deeds

  • Car titles

  • Bank statements

  • Tax returns

  • Pay stubs

What Questions Will Be Asked at the Meeting

Prior to the meeting, the trustee will have reviewed all your bankruptcy paperwork, income, debts, expenses, tax returns, and pay stubs. The Chapter 7 trustee’s main job is to sell nonexempt property to repay your unsecured creditors. The trustee also:

  • Searches for bankruptcy fraud

  • Makes sure your paperwork is accurate

  • Conducts an investigation into your property and finances

Since most of the fact-finding is done at the meeting of creditors, the trustee will ask you questions that help him/her to determine such facts including:

  • Why you filed for bankruptcy

  • Whether you have sold or given away any property in the past few years

  • Whether your monthly expenses are necessary and reasonable

  • Whether your income is accurate in your schedules and on your means test

It is important to keep in mind that you will be sworn in under oath so you must answer all questions truthfully or you may be subject to perjury charges.

What Occurs After the Meeting

The hearing could be continued at a later date for the following reasons:

  • You need to provide more information to the trustee

  • You are missing required documents

  • You must amend your paperwork

You must have also completed a credit counseling briefing prior to filing and the required debtor education course before your debts can be discharged. This should be completed as soon as possible so you can complete your bankruptcy case. As long as your creditors do not object to the discharge of your debts, you will receive your discharge order approximately 60 days after the meeting of creditors.

Paul Benson will help you prepare for the 341 Meeting so you can properly answer all the questions you are asked by the trustee.