The 341 meeting in Chapter 7.
After all of the required information has been collected, the petition papers completed and the Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition has been filed, a meeting with the assigned Trustee will occur. This is called the 341 meeting of creditors and will generally happen about 5 weeks after the petition is filed. It is called a meeting of creditors because the creditors can attend and ask questions. In fact, creditors hardly ever show up for the 341 meeting. The purpose of this meeting is for the Trustee to inquire of the debtor, i.e. person filing the case, as to matters that could affect a discharge. If you have provided the attorney everything he asked for, you should be alright.
The Trustee will be asking you questions about the things listed in the petition and things that could have happened that should have been listed in the petition. If you did not tell the attorney about anything financial that happened in the past 5 years, this could be uncomfortable. Always answer the Trustee truthfully. If you forgot and left something out, this can be fixed. If you did not tell the attorney about something because you were embarrassed, or more importantly because you didn’t want the attorney or the Trustee to know about it, there is a real possibility that the Trustee already knows about it or will find out. If you had told the attorney, he at least could have attempted to address it resulting in the meeting being smoother or less uncomfortable.
The meeting should last only 15 or 20 minutes, but it may be continued if the Trustee is not satisfied with the answers he received. If the case is a joint case, both husband and wife must appear. If the debtor fails to appear, the meeting could be continued, or the Trustee could ask the Court to dismiss the case. This would not likely happen for a first time failure to appear.
It is important for the debtor to bring a valid picture ID, such as a state driver’s license. Also, proof of Social Security number must be presented. Without these two forms of identification, the meeting will not occur. There are usually a few “Bankruptcy Information Sheets” in the waiting room. Read it! If you can not find one, ask your attorney, he should have one with him. You should take a few minutes to review that papers that were filed with the Court. The Trustee will ask how much your house, personal property and vehicles are worth. They should be the same values listed in the petition papers. The Trustee will also ask what you income is. You can answer, gross, net, weekly or monthly, but the numbers will usually be the same as those listed in the filed papers.
Ronald R. Stanley, Esq. has assisted individuals file Chapter 7 and 13 Bankruptcy for over 40 years. He is a member of the bar in Ohio (1974), Northern Ohio Federal District Court (1974) and 6th Circuit Federal Appeals Court (1977). 3637 Medina Road #5 in Medina, Ohio 44256, 330-952-1415 Phone, [email protected] email, rstanleylaw.com website