Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: What Happens at the Meeting of Creditors?
You have filled out your bankruptcy paperwork, provided all the necessary documentation, and we have filed your petition for relief. Now, it’s time to get ready for the meeting of creditors. This meeting is also known as a 341 Meeting or the Meeting of Creditors. During this meeting, the trustee overseeing your bankruptcy case will ask a list of questions. He or she will determine your eligibility for bankruptcy. The trustee also verifies that you have provided accurate information regarding your assets, debts, and income. In other words, the 341 Meeting is to make sure that your bankruptcy case has been filed in “good faith.”
Before the Meeting of Creditors
About two to three days after your legal team files your bankruptcy petition, you should receive a notice. This notice says that your case has been filed and your 341 Meeting has been scheduled. The first 341 Meeting must be scheduled for between 20 and 40 days after the filing of your petition.
Between filing and the meeting, your lawyer should ensure the trustee has received all necessary documentation for your meeting. Documentation includes current bank statements, tax returns, market analysis of real estate, among other things. Without this information the trustee may not proceed on schedule. You also must bring your identification to the Meeting. Acceptable ID is a New Jersey driver’s license or passport (or other government-issued photo identification). You also need something that verifies your Social Security Number (“SSN”). Many trustees will ONLY accept the actual SSN card or a statement from the Social Security Administration. This statement confirms your application for a new card and the issuance of it is in process.
Review Your Petition
You should do another thorough review of your bankruptcy petition before your Meeting of Creditors. If any of the information in your filing is out-of-date or inaccurate, you should contact your bankruptcy lawyer. The lawyer will review the information to determine if it is necessary to file an amendment before the 341 Meeting. You want to make sure your case trustee does not have any reason to think that
Seven to ten days before your 341 Meeting, your lawyer will provide your case trustee with a copy of your most recent tax return. At this time, your lawyer will also provide copies of pay stubs from the 60 days prior to your bankruptcy filing. So please make sure you get hits information to us as soon as possible.
Who is Present?
The 341 Meeting takes place in a meeting room, not a courtroom. You, your attorney, and your case trustee will all be present. Creditors named in your bankruptcy case may attend the meeting, but in most cases, they do not.
What the Trustee Asks
During the 341 meeting, the trustee asks a list of questions relating to your income, debt, and assets. They ask whether or not you have reviewed your bankruptcy petition and if the petition is accurate. Other questions may relate to businesses you own, assets given or sold to friends or family members, debts that are owed to you, and ongoing personal injury cases.
The Meeting of Creditors is generally very short and is typically over in less than 10 minutes. However, trustees schedule these meetings in 30-minute blocks. Therefore, you should expect to be there for at least 30 minutes and often times an hour or more. After the meeting, creditors have a chance to object to the discharge. Within 60 to 90 days after the meeting, you should receive proof of a discharge. Of course, this assumes that you meet all requirements and there are no objections.
Bankruptcy could be a fresh start for you if you have an unmanageable amount of debt. The process is much easier with a dedicated and compassionate attorney. Contact us to learn more about your bankruptcy options. Debt relief can give you your much needed Fresh Start.