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What is a 341 Meeting?

Judge reviewing documents

The process of filing for bankruptcy, whether it be Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, can be intimidating and confusing. Many different terms and phrases are thrown at the debtor, and it is not always clear what those terms mean.

A 341 Meeting of Creditors is one of those phrases.

What does this meeting entail, and how can a debtor prepare?

What to Expect at a 341 Hearing or Meeting of Creditors

A 341 meeting of creditors is a hearing where the debtor is sworn under oath and is asked a series of questions by the bankruptcy trustee about his or her assets and liabilities.

The reason it is given the name “341 hearing” is it falls under Section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code.

The hearing will normally take place in the courthouse for the debtor’s given district, but it will not be a normal hearing in that the debtor will not be going before an actual judge. The questions will be given by the trustee instead, so the process is more informal than a full-blown hearing.

However, it is extremely important that the debtor take this process seriously as it is an important part of the bankruptcy trustee getting a clear idea of what is at stake.

Regardless of whether the debtor is doing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, he or she will face a 341 hearing.

The Process

At the start of the 341 hearing, the debtor will be sworn in.

The situation begins much like a deposition, but it does not follow the typical rules of court. No court reporter will be present, and creditors are welcome to ask questions informally of the debtor. The trustee will likely record the interview for later use. The entire procedure normally lasts no more than five to ten minutes once started, so long as the debtor is cooperative.

The debtor will be asked questions about what assets he or she owns and will be asked to discuss what financial circumstances led to him or her filing for bankruptcy. It sounds easy, and in theory, the process is relatively easy.

However, for the debtors facing bankruptcy, this is an emotional process and can be stressful as the decision to file for bankruptcy is never an easy one.

If the debtor has an attorney, he or she is welcome to attend as well. In fact, it is often recommended that an attorney be retained and attend this important meeting.

Questions to Expect

It helps to know what to expect before going to the 341 meeting. The debtor should expect to answer some basic questions about his or her name and current address. The trustee will also want to see a picture ID and Social Security card for review.

The debtor will then be asked the following:

  • Did he or she sign the petition, along with the attached schedule, statements and other related documents?
  • Did the debtor read the petition and accompanying schedules and statements before signing them?
  • Is the debtor personally familiar with all of the information contained in the petition?
  • To the best of the debtor’s knowledge, is all of that information true and accurate?
  • Did the debtor list all of his or her assets in the petition?
  • Did the debtor list all of his or her debts?
  • Are all of the attached schedules accurate?
  • The trustee will give the debtor a chance to correct any of the items disclosed or listed at this time. Are any corrections needed?
  • Has the debtor lived in Florida for the past two years?
  • Does the debtor owe any person domestic support?
  • Has the debtor previously filed for bankruptcy?
  • Are the tax returns that have been provided to the trustee true copies of the most recent tax returns filed?
  • Has the debtor read the Bankruptcy Information Sheet that was provided to him or her by the trustee?
  • Does the debtor own or have any interest in any real estate?
  • Does the debtor have any ownership or interest in vehicles?
  • Has the debtor made any transfers of real or personal property within the last two years or given away any property?
  • Is anyone holding onto property belonging to the debtor?
  • Does anyone owe the debtor money?
  • Does the debtor anticipate receiving any life insurance proceeds or any inheritance within the next six months?
  • Is the debtor suing someone or considering filing a lawsuit against someone?

So long as the debtor answers these questions truthfully, he or she will not have anything to be concerned about.

The main point of these questions is to get an accurate picture of the bankruptcy estate and to ensure that the debtor is not trying to conceal any assets from the bankruptcy filing process.

All of this will be included in the petition and the bankruptcy attorney will be able to walk through the process with the client prior to the 341 meeting of creditors.

Creditors will have a chance to attend and ask questions, although not many creditors attend.

Contact Us Today

At RLC Lawyers & Consultants, we are here to walk you through this stressful process of bankruptcy. To schedule a consultation please call us at 561.571.9610 or send an email to info@rlcfl.com.