One of the most important — and most nerve-wracking — parts of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the creditors' (or 341) meeting. To help you have a successful and stress-free 341 meeting; here are the who, what, where, when, why, and how every claimant needs to know about it.
The creditors' meeting generally involves the debtor, the court-appointed trustee, and any creditors who wish to attend.
During this meeting, the bankruptcy trustee will verify your identification documents and ask you under oath about various facets of your bankruptcy petition. They may ask you to confirm under oath, for example, that you've disclosed all assets and debts, that nothing has changed since you filed the case, and that you haven't preferentially paid any creditors.
Most 341 meetings occur in person at the court. However, debtors now often have the option of attending a virtual meeting over a video conference.
The court will notify you of the time and date of your meeting. Creditors also receive the same notice. Your hearing will likely be scheduled along with several others, so you should arrive early and expect to wait your turn. However, depending on your case, the actual hearing may be over quickly.
The purpose of the creditors' meeting is two-fold. First, it allows the court to verify that you are participating in bankruptcy protection in good faith and that you're telling the truth about your situation. Second, it gives creditors a chance to ask any questions they have and have an assurance that the court is looking out for their best interests in determining how much, if anything, you will have to pay back.
Aside from asking you for verification under oath, the trustee also gives creditors the opportunity to decide how to handle the discharge of their debts.
The most common creditors to show up at a 341 meeting are either personally-involved creditors (such as business partners) or creditors of secured loans. They may be given extra time to ask relevant questions to determine if there is any need for them to object to discharge or any evidence that you've committed accidental or intentional fraud.
Where Can You Get Help?
If you're nervous about appearing at a creditors meeting, the best place to get assistance is by meeting with an experienced bankruptcy attorney in your state. They'll guide you through the process, reduce the chance of surprises, and help you during the meeting. Make an appointment today to learn more about it.
Reach out to a bankruptcy attorney like Willis Spangler Starling to learn more.
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