If you’re considering bankruptcy, you may be wondering about the nuts and bolts of the bankruptcy process. One part of this process is the 341 meeting. After filing your Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you are REQUIRED to attend a meeting of your creditors, otherwise known as a “341 meeting.” Named for section 341 of the bankruptcy code that mandates a meeting between a bankruptcy bound debtor and creditors, it normally occurs three to six weeks after your bankruptcy filing. If you fail to attend the 341, it may result in the dismissal of your case.
Purpose of the 341
Despite the fact that the 341 meeting is not attended by a judge, nor conducted in a courtroom, it is part of the bankruptcy legal process, meant to ensure that you openly and honestly represented your assets, debts, and disposable income in your bankruptcy petition. Your appointed bankruptcy trustee presides over the questioning during which he or she joins the creditors (that show up) to ask you questions, under oath, concerning all of your property and your financial situation before and since your bankruptcy filing.
During the 341 Meeting
Since the 341 meeting is part of a legal procedure, you will answer questions under oath after a swearing in. As part of the formal bankruptcy process, the 341 meeting will be recorded as the trustee asks you questions about business interests, debts, income and the assets that you have listed in the petition. Since the 341 meeting is about fact finding, the trustee may require added information on anything you have listed in the bankruptcy petition.
In the case of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your trustee may reiterate repayment plan provisions.
Other than the usual fact finding questions, here are just some standard questions that the trustee might ask:
- Your name, address and your social security number?
- Whether you understand your bankruptcy as read or described by your lawyer?
- Any modifications to your payment schedules?
- Did you read all the schedules prior to signing them?
- Did you list all of your assets?
- Did you list all of your debts?
- How did you value the property listed in your petition?
- Have there been any significant changes since you filed for bankruptcy?
- Are the schedules accurately represented?
- Have you lived outside of this state for the past 2 years?
Rest assured the 341 meeting is brief and informal. In many cases, the 341 is the only hearing you'll ever need to attend as part of your bankruptcy. As a result, it is important to understand the questions that are asked and what exactly the Trustee is looking for.
Purpose of Questions During the 341 Meeting
While the 341 meeting is considered a fact-finding opportunity for the bankruptcy trustee and creditors, the purposes of some of the questions in a 341 meeting may vary based the type of bankruptcy you’re seeking. In a Chapter 7 for example, the trustee is attempting to determine what assets are available for sale. In a Chapter 13, the trustee attempts to solidify the debtor's repayment plan.
Creditors and the 341 Meeting
For debtors, one of the more nerve-wracking parts in anticipating the 341 meeting is facing creditors. Keep in mind that while your creditors are invited to the meeting, they are not required to attend to challenge the discharge in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or to object to a payment plan in Chapter 13. As a result, they are normally absent for a 341 meeting. Even if creditors do attend, so does your bankruptcy attorney. As a result, seeking legal assistance in your bankruptcy is not only smart, but good for added peace of mind.
As you can see, a qualified bankruptcy attorney is important during the bankruptcy process to help you navigate any uncertain waters and work in your best interests during the duration of your personal bankruptcy. The bankruptcy experts at the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt offer a totally FREE debt consultation and now, more than ever, it’s time to take them up on their offer. Just call toll free to 1-888-234-4181, or during the off hours, you can make your own appointment right online at www.billsbills.com. Simply click on the yellow “FREE Consultation Now” button.