What is the purpose of the 341 Meeting Of Creditors?
The purpose of the meeting is to ensure that you have fairly and honestly represented your assets, income and debts in your bankruptcy filing. You must appear at the meeting, and your attorney will be present with you. The Trustee assigned to your case will ask you questions about the contents of the bankruptcy schedules, and you will answer the questions under oath. You will not be asked to justify filing bankruptcy. It's strictly a fact-finding meeting.
Creditors have the right to attend your hearing and ask you questions about your debts, however this is a rare occurrence. This meeting is informally called a "341 meeting" after section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code that requires it.
What Should I Expect?
The typical hearing room for the 341 Meetings is not a courtroom and a Judge will not be present. You should expect that there will be dozens of other people in the same room with you waiting for their name to be called by the Trustee. Immediately prior to your hearing time, your attorney will meet with you briefly to go over the procedure. Your attorney will ask you to read a pamphlet prepared by the court, and sometimes fill-out a standardized form provided by the Trustee.
When the Trustee calls your name, you and your attorney will move to the table at the front of the room to be questioned by the Trustee under oath. Since the Trustee's questions are based on the information contained in your petition, you should review your petition the night before your hearing to reacquaint yourself with its contents. Your hearing should last approximately 5 minutes.
When Will My Meeting Of Creditors Hearing Be Scheduled?
Your hearing will be scheduled approximately four to five weeks after your petition is filed with the court.
What Should I Wear?
Dress business casual. Think along the lines of a nice pair of slacks, or skirt, with a collared shirt. This is a formal court proceeding, but in a more casual setting. You are having financial problems, which would suggest you do not have the resources to purchase a new suit, tie, etc. The goal is to blend in. Do not call attention to yourself or your case by the way you dress.
What Time Should I Arrive?
You should plan to meet your attorney outside the hearing room (or at a different pre-designated place described by your attorney) at least 20 minutes before your scheduled Meeting of Creditors hearing. Plan to leave enough time to find a parking spot, walk-up to the building, and get through security.
What Do I Need To Bring With Me?
Bring your state issued identification and proof of your social security number. The best way to prove your social security number is with your social security card. An original W-2 issued by your employer may substitute for your social security card. You do not need to bring anything else with you, unless directed to do so by your attorney.
Will I Have To Go Back To Court?
Depending on the complexities and nuances of your case, you may be required to appear more than once. Our attorneys will be by your side at each hearing.