Whether you’re filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you’re required to attend a “341 meeting” or what is commonly known as the meeting of the creditors. This meeting typically takes place at a federal building in a meeting room with other debtors, the trustee (who looks over the case.) and in some cases creditors. Let’s take a closer look what you can expect a 341 meeting.
341 Meeting Purpose
The primary purpose of the 341 meeting is to confirm that your bankruptcy petition is accurate, determine if you have any non-exempt property (property that cannot be included in a bankruptcy,) confirm your repayment plan if you’re filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and allow creditors the opportunity to question you. But don’t worry; in most bankruptcy cases creditors and lenders don’t attend these meetings. Here’s an outline of how the process works:
The 341 meeting will take place at least 21 days but no more than 40 days after you file bankruptcy.
What to Bring
Before the meeting, the bankruptcy trustee may request that you bring certain documents such as your tax returns, mortgage documents, bank statements, paystubs, and car title. But regardless of what documents the trustee requests, you must arrive at the meeting with proof of your identity such as a government issued photo ID and proof of your social security number.
Before attending the 341 meeting, the bankruptcy trustee will examine your bankruptcy petition. He or she may have some questions about it and will present those questions to you at the meeting. Typical trustee questions may include the following:
- Have you repaid any creditors in the 3 months prior to filing bankruptcy?
- Have you declared all of your assets and income on your bankruptcy petition?
- In the past 12 months have you repaid any loans made to you by friends and family?
- Have you sold or transferred property in the past few years?
If you transferred property (sold, gifted, or traded) or repaid some debt right before filing bankruptcy, the trustee may move to recover, taking back those assets.
In the typical bankruptcy case, creditors do not attend the 341 meeting. However, if they do attend it may be because they are a secured creditor such as a car lender. In that case, they are likely attending to determine if you want to give up also known as surrendering the property. If you want to keep secured property in your bankruptcy you’ll need to continue making payments and prove that you have proper insurance.
While most 341 meetings are simple affairs, complex bankruptcy cases could make this meeting more demanding. Speak with a bankruptcy attorney to determine what to expect at your 341 meeting.