If you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy, you undoubtedly have many questions. You may have heard of certain terms and need a better understanding of what they mean.
One of the terms related to the bankruptcy process is a “341 meeting.” What is this, and how would it involve you as a filer?
The initial meeting
The 341 meeting is also known as the “meeting of creditors.” If you take a look at the United States Code, Title 11, you will find that the number 341 comes from the section that addresses what the first meeting of creditors requires in a bankruptcy matter.
Who is in charge
There is no requirement for a judge to be present at this meeting. The trustee assigned in Chapters 7, 12 and 13 conducts the hearing. In Chapter 11 cases, which include the debtor retaining possession of assets and no assigned trustee, a representative from the Office of the U.S. Trustee will conduct the hearing.
The trustee or representative will review the petition you file and ask questions that you must answer under penalty of perjury. These will address points that include your financial condition, your property, any liabilities and anything else that might affect the proper administration of your estate or your right to discharge debts. The interviewer will also want to ensure that you understand both the pros and cons of filing for bankruptcy.
Where creditors come in
The phrase “meeting of creditors” is apropos because your creditors will receive notification that they may participate and ask you questions about your assets and anything else that is relevant to the bankruptcy case. However, creditors do not often attend these hearings; they do not waive their rights if they choose not to appear.
A short meeting
Your bankruptcy attorney will help you understand and prepare for the 341 meeting, which usually only lasts for a few minutes. Think of it as a single step in a process designed to help you get out from under the stress of overwhelming debt and begin a new life.