Part of the process of Chapter 7 bankruptcy includes what is known as the “meeting of the creditors.” It is required by statute and the statute section that mandates it is section 341, so it is often referred to as the “341 meeting.”
This meeting typically takes place within three to six weeks after you file the bankruptcy. You must appear and during the hearing, the Chapter 7 trustee will ask you some questions about your filing and your finances. Even though it is called the meeting of the creditors, most creditors are unlikely to appear, and most if not all questions will be asked by the Chapter 7 trustee.
The trustee will have reviewed your bankruptcy filing and the attached schedules. The trustee is interested in any nonexempt property that they can sell and the proceeds of which they can distribute to your unsecured creditors.
The trustee must ask if you understand the consequence of filing a bankruptcy and the effect of discharge. They could ask you about the value of your property and may ask for an explanation of any items listed on your schedules that appear unusual.
The want to be certain you have correctly valued the property, and determine that all of your financial disclosures are accurate.
It is important to bring all requested documents, as the trustee may reschedule the meeting if you fail to produce the correct documents. This would delay the process and your discharge.
While it may be stressful to attend, it is not a court hearing and the trustee is not a judge, however, you will be under oath during the 341 meeting, so it is essential that your answers are accurate and responsive.
You attorney can help you prepare for the meeting and will accompany you to assist with any questions that arise.
Uscourts.gov, “Bankruptcy Basics,” Bankruptcy Judges Division, website accessed February 2015Â