Every party that files bankruptcy must attend a meeting of creditors. This meeting, which is required by Section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code, is also known as a “341 meeting.”
The meeting of creditors is scheduled by the clerk of the bankruptcy court shortly after a bankruptcy case is filed, together with other important dates, deadlines, and events. You can learn more about the bankruptcy process if you click HERE to access our FREE courses on bankruptcy.
The bankruptcy clerk will send notice of the time and place of the 341 meeting to all parties that are listed in the bankruptcy filing. The meeting of creditors is generally based on the county in which the debtor resides.
The 341 meeting is presided over by the bankruptcy trustee that was appointed in the case. The meeting is an opportunity for the bankruptcy trustee and creditors to question the debtor under oath regarding their assets, liabilities, and other matters that pertain to their bankruptcy case.
A meeting of creditors is not an opportunity for creditors to pressure individuals that filed bankruptcy, or embarrass them. Creditors must conduct themselves in a professional manner.
341 meetings are held in a meeting room or a courtroom. When the case is called, the bankruptcy trustee will place the debtor under oath, and ask to see a photo ID and documentation of the debtor’s social security number (which can be the actual card or a W-2 or 1099 with the full number listed).
The bankruptcy trustee will then ask a series of questions to confirm the accuracy of the documents filed with the court. The trustee will try to determine whether there are any assets that are not protected through exemptions. The trustee will also try to identify other issues relevant to the administration of the estate.
As with all matters affecting a bankruptcy case, the 341 meeting of creditors is important to bankruptcy attorneys and their clients, and should be approached with care.
1. You Must Attend The Meeting Of Creditors.
The meeting of creditors is the only mandatory appearance that most parties must make after filing bankruptcy. The 341 meeting must be attended when scheduled, and both spouses must appear if the bankruptcy is a joint case.
There will be several weeks of advance notice, so make arrangements to attend, and plan to be there with your bankruptcy attorney a few minutes early. At the meeting room, there will be an information sheet from the trustee that you must read. Be prepared to confirm that you’ve reviewed that information.
2. There Will Be Several Meetings of Creditors Scheduled At The Same Time As Your 341 Meeting.
The time set for the meeting of creditors will be used for a number of individual meetings of creditors. It is not unusual for ten or twelve meetings to be scheduled for the same time. Cases are called one by one, and the parties and their bankruptcy lawyer will sit at a table with the bankruptcy trustee.
It is a public meeting. Everyone is there for the same reason, and everyone shares the same concerns and apprehension, but the 341 meetings are conducted quickly, and with respect and courtesy.
3. You’ll Need To Verify Your Identity.
The trustee is required to verify your identity.
Bring photo identification, and a document showing your social security number – such as your social security card, or a pay stub.
4. It Is Unlikely That Your Creditors Will Attend The Meeting of Creditors.
All parties listed on the bankruptcy schedules will receive notice of the meeting of creditors. If any creditors do attend the 341 meeting, it is typically out of curiosity, to ask whether their debt will be reaffirmed, or to ask about the location and condition of their collateral. Most of the time creditors do not attend the hearing.
5. The 341 Meeting Of Creditors Is Not A Court Hearing.
The bankruptcy law prohibits the bankruptcy judge from attending the meeting of creditors. Although the meeting of creditors is serious business, it is not a court hearing. No legally binding decisions can be made for you, or against you.
Nevertheless, the 341 meetings are recorded. Be careful and thoughtful with your answers, and don’t guess as to facts you don’t know. You are under oath.
6. Your Bankruptcy Trustee Will Preside Over Your Meeting.
The bankruptcy trustee will always preside over the meeting of creditors. The trustee will review your bankruptcy schedules prior to the meeting to identify any possible assets that are beyond your ability to protect, or any payments that were made before filing that the trustee may be able to recover.
7. You Must Tell The Truth At The 341 Meeting Of Creditors.
The Trustee and any creditor or other party in interest is entitled to ask questions regarding your assets and liabilities, as well as any questions that are relevant to the administration of the bankruptcy case, or your right to a discharge.
Be prepared to raise your right hand, be placed under oath, and to tell the truth. The only wrong answer to a question from the trustee or a creditor is an untruthful answer.
8. The Trustee Will Ask Required Questions.
The trustee will have questions that the trustee is required to ask. The trustee may also have discretionary questions. These questions are usually intended to determine whether you might have any nonexempt assets that could be claimed by the trustee, or whether there were payments to creditors or transfers of property made before the bankruptcy filing that might be recovered by the trustee.
Below are links to common questions asked:
Questions the Chapter 7 Trustee in Georgia May Ask You
Questions the Chapter 13 Trustee in Georgia May Ask You