The Meeting of Creditors, also called the 341 Hearing, is where you meet with the trustee (not the judge) in your bankruptcy case. Creditors may attend but usually do not. The primary purpose of this hearing is to give the bankruptcy trustee the opportunity to ask you a series of questions to confirm the information you provided in your petition, schedules and other documents. The meeting usually lasts 5-10 minutes and is held in a meeting room, not a courtroom.
Preparing for the Meeting
The Meeting of Creditors is typically held 4-6 weeks after filing. At least one week before the meeting, you or your attorney should make your most recent tax returns, bank statements, and pay stubs available to the trustee and administrator for review. If you fail to provide this information, your case will be discontinued and you will have to come back.
What to Bring
- Photo ID
- Social Security Card
During the Meeting
The trustee will ask to see your driver’s license and Social Security card and swear you in. He or she will then ask you a series of questions related to the information that you provided in your petition, schedules, and other documents. The purpose of the question is just to confirm information for the record. Remember, your bankruptcy lawyer will be there to assist you if you do not understand a question. If the trustee request any additional information or documents, it is very important you get it to your attorney as soon as possible. Make sure your attorney also knows if there are updates or changes to any of your documents.
After the Meeting
Creditors will have 60 days from the date of the 1st scheduled 341 meeting to object to anything in the bankruptcy petition. The debtor will also need to complete the 2nd credit counseling class before this 60 days are up.
In a Chapter 7 case, you will not have to do anything else after the hearing unless the trustee requests additional information. The trustee will send a report to the judge recommending discharge. About three months after the judge receives this report, the judge will sign your order of discharge and close the case. At that point, your case is complete.
In a Chapter 13 case, the bankruptcy judge will hold a second hearing called a “confirmation hearing” to determine if your Chapter 13 plan should be approved. Generally, you do not have to attend the confirmation hearing. It is not uncommon for the trustee to request changes to the Chapter 13 plan at or after the meeting of creditors. Once these changes have been made, the trustee will recommend to the judge that your proposed Chapter 13 plan be confirmed.
There is nothing to fear regarding the meeting of creditors. A little preparation will go a long way in helping your case not be delayed.
Should you have questions regarding which bankruptcy is the right choice for you, give us a call at 731.424.3315. We will discuss the best options for your specific situation. As always, the first consultation is FREE.