What To Expect at the 341 Meeting of Creditors
A 341 Meeting of Creditors takes place after the debtor has filed for bankruptcy. It is presided over by a representative from the U.S. Trustee's office. Creditors and their lawyers are invited to attend this session to discuss the debtor's assets and liabilities. Your lawyer may also attend.
If you're wondering what to expect, keep reading. We'll explain everything you need to know about this crucial legal proceeding and how a DebtStoppers lawyer can help.
What is the Purpose of the 341 Meeting of Creditors?
The 341 Meeting of Creditors is one of the requirements in every bankruptcy case. During this conference, the trustee and any creditors that attend will have the opportunity to ask the debtor questions about their assets, liabilities, and financial affairs under oath. Fortunately, your lawyer can attend with you.
Verification of Identity
During the session, you must provide the trustee with a photo ID and confirmation of your social security number (SSN) or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN).
Acceptable types of identification include:
U.S. government ID
Passport or visa
Resident alien card
Any identity card issued by a national government authority. In most states, you can prove your SSN or ITIN with any of the following:
Social security card
Medical insurance card
IRS Form 1099
Social Security Administration (SSA) Statement.
However, in Georgia, you can only use your social security card.
The trustee will ask questions about your assets, liabilities, and income. The purpose of these questions is to ensure that you have provided accurate information. The trustee will also verify that you understand the bankruptcy process and have completed the required documents.
Here are a few of the trustee questions your lawyer can help you prepare to answer:
- Whether you have identified all of your assets in the paperwork
- Whether the copy of the tax return you provided is a true copy of the most recent tax return you filed
- Whether you have previously filed for bankruptcy
- Whether you are paying a domestic support obligation
- Your address and the address of your current employer
Any creditor, including former spouses and business partners, will also be able to ask you questions under oath. While creditors do not usually attend, you should be prepared to discuss your financial situation with them.
Typically, their questions will focus on identifying non-exempt assets that can be used to repay your debts and searching for any evidence that you may have committed fraud.
For instance, a creditor or their lawyer may ask you to explain the following:
Your current employment and income
The details of your mortgage
Whether you have assets in a storage space or deposit box
Whether you provided accurate information when you applied for credit
Whether you made any purchases on credit after you planned to file for bankruptcy
Whether you gifted any property to friends or family
What To Expect at the Meeting of Creditors
The bankruptcy trustee and any creditor or their lawyer can ask you questions about your financial situation. The conference is typically brief, and most debtors find that it is not a difficult or stressful experience. However, it is important to remember that this is a mandatory part of the bankruptcy process, and failing to attend can result in serious consequences.
Where Does the Meeting Take Place?
Typically, it will take place at the trustee’s offices and not in a courtroom.
Why is it Called the 341 Meeting Instead of the Meeting of Creditors?
It is called the 341 Meeting because it is required by the laws in Section 341 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. But, it can also be called the Meeting of Creditors.
Do Creditors Always Show Up at the Meeting?
Although creditors are allowed to attend the 341 Meeting, they very rarely do so. Because their attendance is not mandatory and most unsecured claims are discharged in full in a Chapter 7 case, there is little incentive for creditors to attend.
Will Creditors Object to My Case?
Usually, a creditor’s lawyer will not object to your bankruptcy case unless they believe that you have engaged in fraud or that the debt owed to them is non-dischargeable.
What Will Happen After the Meeting of Creditors?
If you are filing for Chapter 7, you must take a debtor education class. This class is meant to help you understand how to manage your finances in the future and avoid bankruptcy. Once you have completed the class, you will receive a discharge, which means that your debts have been wiped out.
If you are filing for Chapter 13, you and your lawyer must attend a confirmation hearing. At this hearing, the bankruptcy judge will review your repayment plan and decide whether or not to approve it. Once your repayment plan has been approved, you will make payments to your trustee for three to five years before receiving a discharge.
What Can Go Wrong at the 341 Meeting of Creditors?
As long as you bring the required documents and answer all the questions truthfully, your session will most likely go smoothly. However, a few things can go wrong.
The Trustee Doesn’t Conclude Your Meeting
When the trustee does not conclude your meeting, it may be continued to another date. This can happen if the trustee needs more information from you or other issues need to be addressed.
If your session is continued, you will need to appear again at a later date and time, which will postpone the discharge of your debt. In most cases, however, the trustee will be able to conclude your conference without any problems.
Creditors Show Up To Ask Questions
While they don’t often attend, a creditor or their lawyer might show up to ask you questions. Their appearance may indicate that there are issues with your case, but it doesn’t necessarily mean anything is going wrong. If someone attends, be sure to answer any questions they ask entirely and truthfully.
341 Meeting of Creditors - What to Expect
The bottom line is that you need to be prepared for your 341 Meeting. This means having your documents in order and being ready to answer any questions the trustee may have.
An experienced lawyer can help you prepare and attend your appointment with you to ensure that everything goes as it should. Sign up for a free consultation with a knowledgeable DebtStoppers lawyer near you to discuss whether bankruptcy is the right option for you.