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The 341 meeting—an important step in your bankruptcy process

If you have decided to declare bankruptcy, you will be assigned a trustee to manage your case, which is the focus of what is called the 341 meeting. However, this is also a meeting that concerns your creditors and they will be invited to attend.

A little background

The 341 meeting is named after the section of the United States Code where the requirements of the initial meeting for creditors are spelled out. You, as the debtor, are required to attend this meeting where you will answer questions, under oath, about your bankruptcy case. The meeting is held outside of court; no judge will be present. If you have filed Chapters 7, 12 or 13, the trustee appointed to administer your case will be in charge of the hearing. If you have filed Chapter 11, the meeting will be led by a representative of the Office of the U.S. Trustee.

What to expect

The trustee will review the details of your bankruptcy petition and ask questions that will provide clarity and enable him or her to administer your case in the most efficient way. The meeting usually does not last long. Although creditors may attend and are permitted to question you about the disposition of your assets and any other matters relevant to your bankruptcy, they rarely appear. They will not waive any of their rights if they do not attend.

Failing to appear

As the debtor, you must not fail to attend the 341 meeting. If you do, the trustee can ask the court to dismiss your bankruptcy case. If the trustee feels that your absence constitutes a failure to cooperate, you could even be held in contempt.

Bring your ID

The attorney who accompanies you to the 341 meeting will take care of providing the appropriate documents to the trustee. All you will be required to bring will be a picture ID and proof of your Social Security number. The 341 meeting is not meant to be intimidating; rather, you should think of it as a brief but important step on the way to a brighter financial future.

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