Meeting of Creditors

If you file bankruptcy, you’ll be required to attend a hearing referred to as the Meeting of the Creditors. A debtor’s appearance at the Meeting of the Creditors is required by Section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code.  The Meeting of the Creditors – often called a 341 hearing – is mandatory. 

The Meeting of the Creditors is not as scary as it sounds.  It is rare for creditors to even bother showing up.  You might visualize a group of lawyers representing the banks and credit card companies coming after you and coming after their money, but that is not what happens at all.  It is completely different from what you might expect.  Generally, the hearings last for about 5 minutes.  The hearing is conducted by a Trustee, not a judge.  And, frequently the Trustee asks the exact same questions over and over again.  The longest part of the hearing is waiting for the other debtors to finish their hearings.

So, what should you expect to be asked at your 341 hearing?  This is a good question for your lawyer to answer.  The questions can vary from Trustee to Trustee but there are some questions that you’ll likely be asked regardless of who presides over your hearing.  Here is a partial list of some questions that you’ll likely be asked:

  1.  Please state your full name for the record.
  2. Do you still live at the address listed on the petition? 
  3. Do you have any domestic support obligations?
  4. Have you ever previously filed bankruptcy? 
  5. Did you read the bankruptcy information pamphlet?

Other questions might be unique to the Trustee assigned to your case.  This is why it is a good idea to ask your lawyer what questions to expect.  Here is a partial list of other questions that I’ve heard asked at 341 hearings:

  1. Have you paid any one creditor $600 or more in the 90 days prior to filing bankruptcy other than a car or house payment?
  2. Have you sold any real estate in the last 4 years?
  3. Have you paid a debt to a friend or family member in the last year?
  4. Does anyone owe you money?

The Trustee is essentially stepping into the shoes of your creditors.  In the case of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the Trustee is typically asking questions in order to identify assets that might be available to pay off your creditors.  An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help you better understand what questions are going to be asked at your hearing.

Ultimately, the Meeting of Creditors isn’t something you need to worry about so long as you are honest.  You need to be honest when you complete your bankruptcy petition.  And, you need to be honest when answering the Trustee’s questions at the 341 hearing.  If you don’t know the answer to a question don’t guess the answer, just tell the Trustee that you don’t know.

Are you considering bankruptcy but your worried about the 341 hearing?  You can always call, text, or email me and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Eric Seyvertsen, Attorney

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