What Is a 341 Meeting Of Creditors In Bankruptcy Law?

Section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code allows your creditors to come to a meeting to ask you certain questions. This meeting of creditors occurs 30 to 35 days after you file. Typically, in this meeting, you do not see creditors show up. The only creditors that show up are ex-wives, ex-husbands and ex-business partners. On occasion, a secured creditor may send a representative to ask you a question, such as, “Where is the ring?” Two times I’ve had someone say, “It’s at the bottom of the Potomac river.” So a 341 meeting is conducted by a trustee who asks you a standard set of questions. The question that’s consistent probably nationwide is: “Did you list all your debts and did you list all your assets?”

Does This Meeting Take Place For All Types Of Bankruptcy?

Yes, it does. It takes place for chapters 7, 11, 12 and 13. Chapters 9 and 15 are for municipal corporations and foreign bankruptcies, respectively, and are not in the scope of this article, but chapters 7, 11, 12 and 13 all have a 341 meeting that is conducted 30 to 35 days after a bankruptcy case is filed.

Does Someone Have To Complete All Bankruptcy Classes Prior To This Meeting?

Only an individual or a couple filing bankruptcy has to complete a credit counseling class. Businesses and corporations do not have to take a class, but the person filing an individual or joint bankruptcy has to take a credit counseling class before filing.

What Can Someone Expect To Happen At a 341 Meeting Of Creditors?

It varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. I regularly make appearances in five different locations, and two of them actually occur at a courthouse in a courtroom. It’s not court, per se, so that’s why in Alexandria and Harrisonburg, the meeting is in a meeting room six blocks away from the courthouse. So I tell my clients: “It’s not court, so you don’t have to get all dressed up like you would going to court. You go to a conference room with a lot of chairs; people show up with their attorney, and then the attorney and the debtor sit in front of the trustee, who’s just another attorney appointed to look at the petition to see if there are any assets that could be sold to pay creditors. The trustee simply asks you some simple questions.”

Does Someone Have To Formally Go In Front Of A Judge For This Meeting?

I would say 99% of my clients never even see a judge. Attorneys see judges two or three times a week for motions or to try to confirm somebody’s chapter 13 plan, but the debtors typically don’t go to those hearings. I had a case recently where a lady was motioning the court to borrow money for a heating system, and the creditor was going to put a lien on her house, so the judge wanted her present to testify. But in most cases, the debtor doesn’t see a judge, no matter what chapter of bankruptcy they file.

How Can Someone Prepare For a 341 Meeting Of Creditors?

They have to be able to know that they’ve listed all their debts and assets because that’s the main question that’s asked. You will most likely be asked, “Is your petition true and correct to the best of your knowledge? Are there any changes you’d like to make at this time? Have you ever filed a previous bankruptcy? Did you list all your debts? Did you list all your assets? Does anybody else owe you any money? Do you have any life insurance policies with cash value you could borrow against? Are you expecting any tax refunds? Did you read the bankruptcy information sheet?”

At What Point, During The Bankruptcy, Does a 341 Meeting Of Creditors Take Place?

It takes place 30 to 35 days after you file bankruptcy. No trustee can talk to you unless you bring your driver’s license and your Social Security card. The driver’s license requirement is for a government-issued picture ID, so it could be a passport, and the Social Security card can be substituted with a W2 that’s not prepared by you. Tax returns are not allowed because that’s considered a self-prepared document even if it was prepared by an accountant. So we always say to bring your driver’s license and Social Security card.

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