What happens after the meeting of creditors in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case?

I filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and have to attend a mandatory hearing called the "meeting of creditors." What happens after I attend my meeting of creditors?

When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you have to attend a mandatory hearing called the  meeting of creditors  (also called the 341 hearing). But simply attending the 341 hearing does not mean that your bankruptcy case is over. Read on to learn more about what happens after your Chapter 7 bankruptcy meeting of creditors.

What Happens at the Meeting of Creditors?

At the meeting of creditors, the  bankruptcy trustee  and your creditors are allowed to ask you questions about your financial affairs and the information disclosed in your bankruptcy papers. In general, creditors rarely attend these hearings.

If the bankruptcy trustee is satisfied with your answers and supporting documents, the meeting of creditors will be concluded. But if the trustee requires further information or documentation from you, he or she will continue the hearing to another date.

What Happens If Your Meeting of Creditors Is Concluded?

If the bankruptcy trustee concludes your meeting of creditors, it means that he or she is satisfied with all of the information you provided and you don’t need to come to another hearing with the trustee.

However, just because your meeting of creditors is concluded doesn’t mean that you are immediately entitled to a discharge. Creditors can still file objections to your discharge within 60 days of the first date set for your meeting of creditors. Also, if you have not already done so, you will need to complete a debtor education course (also called a financial management course) before you can receive a discharge. If no creditor objections are filed by the deadline and you have satisfied all other requirements, you will receive your discharge in the mail.

For more information on the Chapter 7 bankruptcy timeline and what you need to obtain a discharge, see  Steps in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case.

What If the Trustee Requires More Information at the 341 Hearing?

The bankruptcy trustee will let you know exactly what he or she needs from you at the meeting of creditors. The trustee will also give you a continued hearing date to allow you to gather all of the necessary documents. Typically, you will need to send in the documents prior to the next hearing so that the trustee can review them. If the trustee is satisfied with what you provided and has no further questions, he or she will let you know whether you still need to appear at the next hearing or not.

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