The meeting of creditors, also called the 341 hearing (because it is required by section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code), is where you meet with the trustee (not the judge) in your bankruptcy case. Creditors may attend as well, although often none will appear. The trustee will ask you a series of questions. Most 341 hearings last less than 5 or 10 minutes.
The trustee is the person (often, but not always, a lawyer) responsible for administering your bankruptcy estate. The trustee’s job is to make sure that your creditors get paid as much as possible. In order to do this, the trustee wants to ensure that you didn’t leave any assets or property off your bankruptcy papers and that your reported income is accurate. The trustee will also try to find out if you have any claims that the trustee can pursue to get more money for your creditors. To learn more about the job of the trustee, see The Bankruptcy Trustee and Hearings.
Before the meeting of creditors, carefully review your bankruptcy petition. If you find that you’ve missed something or an entry is inaccurate, you should:
Bring to the hearing:
The meeting of creditors is held in a meeting room, not a courtroom. There will be no judge present. The trustee will run the hearing, and creditors may attend as well, although in many bankruptcy cases no creditors show up. The trustee will swear you in and ask a series of questions. Remember that even though you are not in a courtroom, you are still under oath.
Your bankruptcy trustee will schedule many hearings on one day. You'll be given a time to appear, but you might have to wait around while other cases are heard first.
However, once the bankruptcy trustee calls your case, things usually move quickly. The bankruptcy trustee will ask a series of routine questions and then inquire about any issues or matters that he or she feels needs more explanation. If a creditor appears, those questions are usually very short as well.
In most cases, the hearing is over in ten minutes or less.
The trustee will review your petition and ask a series of mostly routine questions, such as whether the information in your petition is correct and whether you omitted anything.
The trustee may ask additional questions in order to find out more about your assets and debts. Or the trustee might ask questions to determine if a particular debt should or should not be discharged.
Typical questions include:
Although your creditors will get notice of the 341 hearing, most won’t appear. A few instances when a creditor might appear include: