There are many steps in the bankruptcy process. One of those steps is the 341 meeting. After you have filed for bankruptcy, you will be required to attend this meeting, also referred to as a “meeting of the creditors.” Your bankruptcy lawyer and the trustee assigned to your bankruptcy case will also be there.
The meeting usually takes place approximately one month after your bankruptcy petition is filed. It is imperative that you appear at the meeting or you risk having your bankruptcy petition dismissed. Your creditors also have the option of appearing at the meeting to ask questions, but their presence is not required and it is generally unlikely they will attend.
The purpose of the 341 meeting is to review the bankruptcy plan with the trustee assigned to your case, who will evaluate your petition to ensure you have appropriately and truthfully represented your financial situation in the bankruptcy petition. It is important to note that the trustee is not the judge who will preside over your bankruptcy proceeding; their role is to be a more objective party and to determine whether the bankruptcy proceeding is fair to all parties involved. The 341 meeting is not meant to be an adversarial proceeding.
The meeting gives the bankruptcy trustee the opportunity to ask you questions, under oath, about your income, property, and financial situation. It is critical that you answer all answers truthfully. The meeting is recorded. More specific questions the trustee may ask include:
- Did your bankruptcy lawyer review your petition with you in its entirety before filing it?
- Have you accurately represented your debts and assets?
- How did you determine the value you assigned to your assets?
- Do you want to make any changes to your petition?
- Have you gifted anything valued at more than $1,000.00 in the last year?
- Have you made a single payment to a creditor of $600.00 or greater in the last three months?
If your case involves unusual complexities, the types of questions and length of the meeting may vary.
In most situations, the 341 meeting is usually a very short, simple proceeding that is more of a formality than anything else. Although most people may feel apprehensive about the meeting when first learning of the requirement, it is a straightforward experience as long as the petitioner is honest and candid about their financial situation and the information contained in the bankruptcy petition.
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An experienced bankruptcy lawyer can help to further alleviate any concerns you may have about the bankruptcy process and prepare you for what to expect based on your individual situation.