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341 Meeting with the Creditors

About twenty to forty days after you file a chapter 7 or 13 petition, the bankruptcy court schedules a meeting with your creditors, called the 341 meeting. The 341 meeting is designed to ensure that you accurately represent your assets and liabilities. During the meeting, the bankruptcy trustee will ask you questions regarding your income, assets, and debt. Meetings typically last fifteen minutes or less and are recorded by a court recorder or on tape. Our bankruptcy attorney will be right there along side you at that meeting, and hence it is nothing to be afraid of. There are no trick questions, and it is not something to sweat about. As long as you tell the truth, you will be fine. And the only caveat is that sometimes an attorney has to encourage their client to speak more along the lines of yes or no answers simply for the sake of moving the meeting along at a quicker pace.

Debtor/Creditor Attendance

You are obligated to attend this meeting and testify under oath regarding your finances and property. If you hire an attorney, he/she will attend the 341 meeting with you. Failure to appear at the 341 meeting can result in dismissal of your case. On the contrary, creditors are not required to attend this meeting and rarely do so. Creditors can object to a chapter 7 discharge or chapter 13 repayment plan without having attended this meeting.

What Happens at the 341 Meeting?

During the 341 meeting, the trustee places you under oath and may ask questions to verify your information and clarify anything from your paperwork. For example, the trustee may ask you to confirm your name and address and inquire as to how you valued property in your petition. The trustee may also ask you specific questions regarding the content of your bankruptcy papers. Creditors can show up and ask questions as well, but most of the time they do not show up to the 341 meeting.

Many clients fret and stress over this meeting which is actually quite a short meeting. It is nothing to be scare or stressed about. We often discuss and counsel with clients about their options and the thought and preparation that they request for this meeting is often overkill. Instead, we try to liken this meeting with the chapter 13 trustee or the chapter 7 trustee to meeting with the people at the counter of the DMV. While it is made to be much more official than that because of what is at stake, it is still quite a simple meeting for 99.9 percent of clients. As long as you don’t have a yacht in Boca Raton, or a second home in Hawaii, we often tell our clients they likely have nothing to worry about. If, on the other hand, they have been withholding information, then at this meeting, the truth will come out or it will have been concealed or lied about under oath.

The seriousness of lying under oat at such a meeting is another important topic to discuss about this meeting of creditors. The concept of lying is not meant to be construed about the situation where a client has notated on their paperwork that they own approximately $150 worth of silverware when, in fact, the more exact value of such silverware was actually $225. That kind of number difference is inconsequential, but the key is that you will be agreeing and affirming that to the best of your ability you have generally provided accurate information.

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