Also known as a “meeting of creditors,” a 341 meeting is scheduled between 21 and 40 days after you file for bankruptcy. This first “official” meeting causes much anxiety for many bankruptcy filers. However, the meeting of creditors is simply part of the process. The meeting basically confirms what you have already written in your bankruptcy petition, with the exception of questions regarding things that may need clarification. Think of it as a fact-finding meeting, not an investigative interrogation. The meeting is not held in a courtroom and no judge is present. Who does attend and what should you expect?
- Your trustee leads the meeting. Your appointed chapter 7 trustee will lead the meeting. He or she will ask you some basic, perfunctory questions such as, “have you sold property or transferred assets recently?” You might also be asked questions regarding why you are filing for bankruptcy or if your monthly expenses are reasonable and accurate. Your attorney will prepare you well regarding how to answer and explain the circumstances of any recent transactions.
- Creditors may be present. Creditors are not required to attend and many do not if they know you have disclosed the correct amount of debt you owe them. However, if a creditor feels you have been untruthful or have failed to disclose a debt, they will likely attend. For example, a car loan creditor may attend to find out if you are still in possession of the car and if you plan to keep it.
- Bring documentation. First, bringing the appropriate identification is imperative. The meeting will be canceled if you do not have a proper photo ID and social security card or government document containing your social security number, such as a tax return. Other documents that may be needed include car titles, property deeds, pay stubs or bank statements. Again, this is where your attorney can help guide you.
Most importantly, you must show up for this meeting. If you do not, your bankruptcy case can be dismissed completely. Additionally, remember that you must be completely truthful. Even though the meeting is not in a courtroom, you are still sworn in under oath and would be subject to perjury charges for being dishonest. Preparation is key. That’s why it’s critical to have a Springfield, Ohio bankruptcy attorney with years of experience as your advocate. Professionals at the Chris Wesner Law Office take the time to listen to your unique situation and prepare you for questions that you may be confronted with. Contact us for a free consultation.