Whenever an individual files for bankruptcy, either under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, that person will be required to attend a meeting with their creditors. This meeting, otherwise known as the 341 meeting, gets its name from section 341 of the bankruptcy code. This meeting is an informal meeting with about twenty to thirty people gathered in the same room waiting to be seen by the bankruptcy trustee. Waiting to be called may take an hour or two, and the hearing will last approximately 10-15 minutes. This hearing is a chance for creditors to meet you and ask about your financial matters to know what type of repayment to expect.

Why is the 341 Meeting important?

A 341 meeting is conducted to make sure that the debtor has submitted all bankruptcy paperwork and to reaffirm that the debtor’s nonexempt assets can be liquidated to repay their debts. Moreover, the court wants to ensure that they are not making any attempt to commit bankruptcy fraud.

The Creditors

Creditors will be informed of the hearing, but they do not always show up. Creditors may appear in certain situations, for instance, when they have concerns about the debtor’s recent cash advances or credit card purchases. Another time creditors may show up to the hearing is when they want to find out why information, like the amount of income, in the debtor’s credit application, is different from the disclosures in bankruptcy paperwork.

Preparing for the meeting

Before the hearing, the debtor has to review their bankruptcy petition carefully. Should they find anything missing or see inaccurate information, an amendment must be submitted before the meeting. In some circumstances, they can bring the discrepancy to the trustee’s attention.

The Court Trustee plays a significant role at the 341 meeting.

The bankruptcy trustee is appointed by the court to conduct this meeting. At the meeting, the debtor under oath answers questions about their financial status directed by the trustee and any creditor that attends the meeting. The trustee’s duties include checking the debtor’s identity, reviewing their paperwork, and evaluating assets and property. Once the trustee gathers and reviews all applicable information about the debts, the court will decide whether the debtor is eligible for filing bankruptcy. If granted a petition, the trustee will decide on which nonexempt assets to sell for money to repay the creditors.  In most Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, the debtor will get to keep all of his assets and not be required to sell any assets.

What happens if the debtor cannot attend the meeting?

If the debtor cannot attend the 341 meeting for a valid reason, they should inform the trustee as soon as possible and have the meeting rescheduled. A compelling reason for missing the meeting could be a medical emergency, military service, or a natural disaster. In some cases, attending by telephone may be permitted.

Debt Rescue Law can explore all options and assist you in filing for bankruptcy if need be. Call for a free consultation at (833) 707-1234 today.

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