Bankruptcy's Meeting of Creditors

Many bankruptcy filers worry about the 341 meeting of creditors—the hearing all Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy filers must attend. If you’re apprehensive, preparation will help. But rest assured that once complete, most filers realize there was no reason for concern.

First, the 341 meeting won’t occur before a judge in a courtroom. Instead, the bankruptcy trustee appointed to administer the case will conduct a short meeting in a hearing room. Although scheduled for an hour, the bankruptcy trustee will set multiple cases, leaving about ten minutes for your matter.

Your responsibilities begin before the meeting, so start by learning about the 521 documents filers must submit ahead of time, and be sure that you have the proper identification to prove your identity. Reading the articles about what to expect, including the standard questions asked by trustees, what will happen if creditors appear, and the consequences of not showing up, will also be helpful.

In many cases, an experienced bankruptcy lawyer will be able to anticipate and resolve issues before the meeting. For instance, in Chapter 7 cases, the Chapter 7 trustee will be most interested in the value of your exempt and nonexempt property (property you can and cannot protect in bankruptcy). Chapter 13 trustees focus on areas affecting the repayment plan, like the budget and the amount proposed to pay creditors.

So rest assured that not only will your attorney let you know what to expect beforehand, but in most cases, the 341 hearing will conclude effortlessly, leaving few, if any, issues to work through with the trustee and creditors afterward.

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