What is a 341 Meeting?
A meeting of the creditors, or a 341 meeting, is something every bankruptcy filer must go through in order to have their debts discharged. In a nutshell, you will be asked questions about your finances by the Bankruptcy Trustee, the Bankruptcy Administrator, and possibly your creditors and/or their attorneys. It sound scary and feels nerve-wracking, but in the majority of cases, you spend less than five minutes answering questions.
Preparation for the Meeting
A 341 meeting is typically held 4-6 weeks after filing. At least one week before the 341 meeting, you or your attorney should make your most recent tax returns, bank statements, and paystubs available to the trustee and administrator for review. If you fail to provide this information, your case will be simply be continued and you will have to come back. At the meeting, you will be in a room full of other people who have recently filed. When your name is called, you will need to come to the front of the room, and give two forms of ID, a photo ID, and some ID that shows your social security number. After that you will be placed under oath.
During the Meeting
Questions that everybody or almost everybody is asked:
Is everything that you wrote on your bankruptcy application correct?
Do you have any domestic support obligations?
Have you made any payments on loans in the last 90 days?
Do you plan on keeping your car (if you owe money on your car?)
Additional questions may be asked by the trustee or administrator if your case is more complicated (if any funds may be distributed for example)
When the Trustee and Administrator have finished asking questions, the Trustee will ask if any creditors want to ask the filer any questions. Most of the time there are not. If no creditors have any questions, the bankruptcy filer is excused. and their 341 meeting is over.
After the Meeting
Creditors will have 60 days from the date of the 1st scheduled 341 meeting to object to anything in the bankruptcy petition. The debtor will also need to complete the 2nd credit counseling class before this 60 days are up. If there are no objections from the Trustee or the creditors, discharge in a chapter 7 typically takes place about 15 days after the last day to object (about 75 days after the first 341 meeting, or about 105 days after filing).
Don’t be Scared!
The 341 meeting is very important, but in the vast majority of chapter 7 cases it takes only a few minutes and is simply a stepping stone towards discharge. Usually only people who did not do the necessary preparation (such as bringing their two forms of ID or did not make their paystubs available to the Trustee) have to repeat their 341 meeting. If you prepare, the 341 meeting is often one of the easiest tasks that you have to do in your chapter 7 bankruptcy.