I filed bankruptcy. What is the 341 meeting of creditors?

By Alfred Villoch, III, with Savage, Combs and Villoch, PLLC
This meeting is named after section 341 of the bankruptcy code.  It’s usually held about one or two months after you file for bankruptcy.  You are required to attend this meeting in order to successfully complete bankruptcy and discharge your debts.  Your attorney will attend the 341 meeting with you and will make sure that you are comfortable and prepared.   You should bring your driver’s license and social security card.
A trustee is the person who administers your bankruptcy case.  The 341 meeting is an opportunity for the trustee appointed in your case to ask you questions generally about your assets, liabilities, and financial affairs.  The trustee will investigate possible fraud, genuine mistakes in the paperwork, and will make sure that your paperwork is in full and complete order. The trustee will also speak with you about:

(1) the potential consequences of seeking a discharge in bankruptcy, including the effects on your credit history;

(2) your ability to file a petition under a different chapter of this title;

(3) the effect of receiving a discharge of debts under this title; and

(4) the effect of reaffirming a debt, including your knowledge of the certain provisions of the bankruptcy code.

Your creditors also receive notice of the meeting and may attend through an attorney or a representative, like an employee.  Sometimes, no creditors will attend.  Sometimes, your creditors will attend.  It depends.  In any event, you, your attorney, the trustee, and any creditors who appear will sit at a table and the trustee will usually ask you questions first.  The trustee ultimately wants to know why you filed bankruptcy and if you have any assets that he or she can sell for the benefits of the creditors.  Creditors might want to know about specific property, like a mortgage company would like to know about the mortgaged house, or specific transactions, like a credit card company about filings on the eve of bankruptcy.
Once the trustee and creditors have finished asking you questions, the trustee will end the meeting. The trustee may continue the 341 meeting at a later date if he or she needs more information, you were missing documents, or the trustee requests that you amend your paperwork.
A bankruptcy attorney will ensure that you are comfortable and prepared for the 341 meeting of creditors.  The attorney will make sure that your paperwork is full, complete, and as accurate as possible.  This makes a big difference compared to the non-attorneys who offer to help you prepare your bankruptcy filings for cheap.  Because they are non-attorneys, they cannot represent you in bankruptcy court or at these 341 meetings of creditors.  For more information, listen to my podcast about 341 meetings!  If you have any questions about bankruptcy, call Savage, Combs and Villoch, PLLC, and speak with an attorney today!

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