Anyone who files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is required to attend a hearing known as the 341 meeting of creditors. This is where the bankruptcy trustee and your creditors can ask you questions under oath about your bankruptcy petition. The 341 meeting is used to verify that the information you included in your bankruptcy papers is accurate. Your creditors will also have the opportunity to question your finances and information you included in your bankruptcy papers, although in reality, few will actually do that.
Before this meeting takes place, it’s important to consider finding the services of an experienced bankruptcy attorney who can help you review your bankruptcy forms to be certain there are no errors or missing documents.
Let’s take a closer look at what to expect during a 341 meeting.
What Happens During a Meeting of Creditors in a Bankruptcy?
In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the court appoints a bankruptcy trustee who will oversee and administer your case. One of the trustee’s responsibilities is ensuring your paperwork is accurate.
Before you attend the 341 meeting, it’s important to put together key documents that support the information in your filing. These should include:
- Tax Returns
- Banks statements
- Evidence of current income
- and debt agreements.
The court will request specific documents to bring to the meeting in advance. You’ll also be asked to prove your identity through two forms of identification. Typically, people bring their driver’s license, social security card, or a passport or military ID.
The meeting is conducted by the bankruptcy trustee, and the judge overseeing your case is not involved. It’s likely that other people who have filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy will also be in attendance waiting for their turn.
Will My Creditors Come to a 341 Meeting?
Your creditors are invited to attend the meeting, but it’s rare for them to show. There is no way they can stop your Chapter 7 filing from being discharged, and creditors are usually given a short amount of time to ask questions.
Rather, this is an opportunity for you to meet the trustee appointed to oversee your case, who will check your identification and ask questions about your paperwork. In fact, the 341 hearings typically last for only about 10 minutes.
What is the Role of the Trustee in a Meeting of Creditors?
The job of the trustee is to review your paperwork for accuracy and to ensure your creditors get paid as much as possible by evaluating your assets. A Chapter 7 trustee is authorized to sell your nonexempt assets, or any property you’re not allowed to keep, so most of the questions the trustee asks will be about your assets. The trustee may also try to find any unreported sources of income that can be used to provide more money to your creditors. They also review your documents for any possible sign of bankruptcy fraud.
Your bankruptcy lawyer can give you an idea of what issues the trustee is likely to ask about. If your meeting is concluded after the trustee asks his questions, and no additional information or documentation is requested, you won’t need to attend another hearing and will receive your discharge. The trustee does have the ability to request additional information and to schedule another hearing date.
Has COVID-19 Impacted 341 Meetings?
Because of the social distancing measures required to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, courts are not scheduling in-person 341 creditor meetings. Your bankruptcy attorney can find out if your court will conduct these hearings by telephone or through the U.S. Trustee’s 341 meeting status page.
That’s another key reason why it’s important now more than ever to have an experienced bankruptcy attorney to guide you through this process.
Trusted Northeastern Louisiana Bankruptcy Lawyers
If you’re contemplating different options for filing business bankruptcy, call the trusted and knowledgeable attorneys at E. Orum Young Law Offices. With more than 35 years of experience, they understand the complexities of filing for bankruptcy and can help ensure you’re on the best course to financial freedom. They’re proud to have filed more bankruptcy cases than any other law firm in Northeast Louisiana and can help you too. Call 318-450-3192 for a free case review or contact them online today.