If you have decided to petition for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy protection, the so-called 341 meeting will be the first step on your journey to a better financial future.
What is the purpose of the 341 meeting and what can you expect to happen?
A little background
The 341 meeting takes its name from Title 11, Section 341 of the United States Code. The purpose of the meeting, also called the meeting of creditors, is to provide the opportunity for creditors to meet with debtors and ask questions concerning the bankruptcy case. However, creditors do not often attend the meeting since they do not lose their standing in the case by staying away.
Meeting your trustee
From your point of view, the 341 meeting is especially important since it is here that you will meet the trustee from the Office of the U.S. Trustee who will administer your bankruptcy case. In order to better understand your situation, the trustee will ask questions that you must answer truthfully. The questions will concern your current financial condition and liabilities and your answers will help the trustee administer your case efficiently.
Avoiding the meeting
If you fail to attend the 341 meeting, the trustee could ask the court to dismiss your bankruptcy case. The meeting does not take long, and no judge will appear. Your advocate will accompany you and provide any documentation the trustee requires. This might include your bank account and investment account statements, credit card statements, copies of income tax returns, loan document copies and the like. You will only need to bring a government-issued photo ID and proof of your Social Security number. Remember that the 341 meeting is the first stop on the path to a better financial future.