What’s A 341 Meeting?
In most cases, bankruptcy, especially chapter 7 bankruptcy, is a relatively straightforward and quick process. Most bankruptcy filers won’t even have to go before a judge or in a courthouse. The only thing that a bankruptcy debtor will ever have to attend that is anywhere close to a court hearing is what is known as a 341 meeting.
What is a 341 Meeting?
A 341 meeting is also called a “meeting of creditors.” In theory, it is a chance for all your creditors to show up and ask you questions and look into the paperwork that you filed. But in practice, that is not actually what happens at a 341 meeting.
Most creditors will never show up to a 341 meeting, and in most cases, you’ll never be asked a single question by a creditor. Because creditors usually will not attend the 341 meeting, the only one there that will ask you questions is the bankruptcy trustee, who acts as an agent of the creditors.
What Happens at a 341 Meeting?
By the time your 341 meeting happens, you will have already filed your bankruptcy paperwork, and the trustee will have already reviewed it. At the 341 meeting, the trustee will ask you basic questions about what you filed – although because the trustee has so many cases, the trustee hardly will be conducting a complete and thorough review of your paperwork, and at the 341 meeting, the questions you can expect to be asked are pretty standard and straightforward.
Most 341 meetings are not held in a courtroom, but are held in conference rooms, or offices in courthouses. In some 341 meetings, many debtors will all be in the same room as the trustee asks questions, and in other cases, the trustee will be in a separate room and will call debtors in to answer questions individually.
Answering the Trustee’s Questions
The trustee understands that you aren’t an attorney, and he or she is not asking questions of you to fool you or trap you. The trustee also is not there to criticize you for filing bankruptcy, or to scold you about your financial management. The trustee’s sole job is to see if you have assets, and, in furtherance of that goal, to ask you questions about things in your filing that may need explaining.
If there is information missing or that is inaccurate, assuming there’s no indication of any fraud, the trustee will give you the chance to amend or alter your bankruptcy paperwork.
The typical discussion between a trustee and a debtor in a 341 meeting is about 10 minutes. Despite the ease of a 341 meeting, it is still always a good idea to have a bankruptcy attorney by your side during the process.
Contact the Boca Raton bankruptcy attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Orchard at 561-455-7961 for help in every stage of your bankruptcy case.