What is a 341 meeting?
Many bankruptcy filers are concerned that they will have to go to court and plead their case. While you will not have to appear in court in the traditional sense, if you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy you will have to attend a meeting called the Meeting of the Creditors or the 341 Meeting.
What happens at the 341 Meeting?
The 341 Meeting is a mandatory hearing where the bankruptcy trustee and your creditors will have the opportunity to ask you questions about your bankruptcy petitions and your financial affairs. The bankruptcy trustee will ask questions about your assets, income, debts and expenses. The trustee will also be reviewing your documents to ensure that you have completed them accurately and completely. All questions are asked under oath.
Common questions asked at the 341 Meeting include:
- Why are you filing bankruptcy?
- Did you review the bankruptcy petition? Is the information correct?
- Are there any corrections that need to be made?
- Did you list all income, assets, and debts?
- Did you sign the documents?
- Have you filed your taxes?
- Are the tax returns you supplied to the trustee copies of the actual tax returns?
- Did you or tax authorities amend returns?
- Are you entitled to any tax refunds?
- Do you expect to receive an inheritance or property settlement?
- Do you have any domestic support obligations?
- Have you have sold, transferred, or given away any property in the last 4 years?
- Are you employed? What do you do?
- Have you previously filed bankruptcy? If so when?
Creditors are not legally obligated to appear at the 341 Meeting. In most cases they will not appear and the meeting could last as little as ten to fifteen minutes. You are legally required to appear at the 341 Meeting. The 341 Meeting may be held in a meeting room or in an actual courtroom.
What happens after the 341 Meeting?
Assuming the trustee is satisfied that your information is accurate they will conclude the meeting of the creditors, which means you will not have to appear at any future hearings. Creditors, however, have 60 days from the date of your initial meeting of the creditors to object to the bankruptcy discharge.
If you have filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy and no creditors object to the discharge, assuming you have completed the debtor education course, your bankruptcy discharge will be completed after the creditor challenge deadline has passed.
When will the 341 Meeting be held?
Generally the Chapter 7 bankruptcy 341 Meeting will be scheduled at least 21 days but no more than 40 days after the day you file your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy case. If you have filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy the meeting generally is held twenty to forty days after the bankruptcy petition is filed.
Do I have to have a lawyer attend my 341 Meeting?
If you have not hired a bankruptcy lawyer you can attend the 341 meeting without a lawyer. This is only recommended for the simplest Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases. If you have filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy or if you want to keep some assets, you may want to talk to a bankruptcy lawyer.
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Current bankruptcy laws do not outline a minimum debt threshold to file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.