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What will happen at the meeting of creditors?

If you have decided to file for bankruptcy, you will attend the “meeting of creditors,” sometimes known as the 341 meeting.

This is a hearing that your creditors may attend so they can question you about your bankruptcy case—but is this the only purpose for the hearing?

A little meeting background

The meeting of creditors is the 341 meeting, after Section 341 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. This section sets out the requirements for an initial meeting between debtor and creditors. It is basically a hearing held outside court where debtor and trustee also meet for the first time.

What happens

If you file Chapter 7 or 13, the trustee assigned to your case through the Office of the United States Trustee conducts the hearing. If you file Chapter 11, a representative from that office will take charge because trustees are not immediately assigned to Chapter 11 cases. During the hearing, the trustee will ask you questions, which you must answer truthfully under penalty of perjury. The questions pertain to your current financial condition, any property you own, your assets and liabilities, and related matters. The trustee's goal is to use this information to administer your case as efficiently as possible.

About your creditors

Your creditors will receive a notice with the hearing's time and location. During the 341 meeting, creditors may ask you questions relating to the bankruptcy, such as the location of your assets. However, creditors usually do not appear, and they do not forfeit their right to any forthcoming payment if they choose to not attend.

Your responsibility

Keep in mind that it is your responsibility to attend the meeting of creditors. If you do not appear, or if you do not provide the information the trustee requests during the hearing, the trustee could recommend the dismissal of your bankruptcy case. The 341 meeting is usually a short, businesslike affair, and your attorney will attend with you. Think of it as a first step on the path to a brighter financial future.

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