Soon after you file your Bankruptcy, the court will schedule a 341 Meeting, aka the “meeting of creditors.” It has to take place at least 21 days after you file, but no later than 40 days after you file for bankruptcy. You must attend or your bankruptcy case can be dismissed.
The meeting will take place in a room, sometimes at the courthouse and sometime at other places, like the U.S. Trustee’s Office at the Bank of America Building in Little Rock. It will be a public place, but most likely the only other people there will be lawyers and people who are filing bankruptcy – creditors do not usually show up.
There will not be a Judge present. Your Chapter 7 bankruptcy Trustee will be there and will be the person conducting the meeting. Creditors usually will not show up for a 341 Meeting because they are not required to attend. But there situations where creditors may attend. For example, if you have a boat that you did not list on your petition for bankruptcy, the creditors will attend to find the location of the property. If you have secured property (property they can take back if you don’t pay, like cars or homes) then creditors may attend if you have not already communicated whether or not you are going to keep it or explained to them the condition of the property.
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-2s, tax returns, Military ID). It is best you have your Social Security card, so if you are thinking about filing bankruptcy and can’t find it, order a replacement. Without these documents, the 341 Meeting cannot be conducted and you will have to reschedule the meeting.
Before the meeting, make sure you have sent the following documents to your lawyer:
Prior to the meeting the trustee will have reviewed your paperwork, income, debts, expenses, tax returns, and paystubs. The Chapter 7 Trustee’s main job is to sell nonexempt property to repay your unsecured creditors. The trustee also does the following things:
Because most of the fact-finding is done at the meeting of creditors, the Trustee will ask you questions that help him or her determine the facts, such as:
Remember that you will under oath so you must answer all questions truthfully or you may be subject to perjury charges.
The hearing could be continued at a later date for the following reasons:
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.
If you have questions about bankruptcy (or bankruptcy in general), we will be happy to chat. Feel free to contact us.