Business Litigation Lawyer
Whether you’ve filed a Chapter 7, Chapter 13, or another form of bankruptcy petition, you will be required to attend a 341 meeting at some point during the bankruptcy process. This is also referred to as a “meeting of the creditors.” It is imperative that you appear at the meeting or you risk having your bankruptcy petition dismissed.
Your bankruptcy lawyer and the trustee assigned to your bankruptcy case will also attend. Your creditors also have the option of appearing at the meeting to ask questions, but their presence is not required and it is generally unlikely they will attend. The meeting usually takes place approximately one month after your petition is filed, and is typically brief in duration.
Why Is a 341 Meeting Needed?
The purpose of the 341 meeting is to review the bankruptcy plan you and your lawyer have developed with the trustee assigned to your case. The trustee will evaluate your petition to ensure you have truthfully and appropriately represented your financial situation in your bankruptcy petition. This is another reason why it is so critical to work with a skilled bankruptcy lawyer when filing for bankruptcy.
It is important to note that the trustee is not the judge who presides over your bankruptcy proceeding; their role is to be a more objective party and to determine whether the bankruptcy proceeding is fair to all parties involved.
The 341 meeting is not meant to be an adversarial proceeding. It gives the trustee the opportunity to ask you questions about your income, property, and overall financial situation. Your answers are made under oath so you must answer truthfully. The meeting is also recorded.
Some of the questions the trustee may ask you include:
- Did your bankruptcy lawyer review your petition and all related documents with you before filing?
- Have you accurately represented your debts and assets? Are all accompanying documents true and correct?
- Have you listed all of your creditors?
- How did you determine the value you assigned to your assets?
- Are you under any court-ordered child support or alimony obligations? Are your current with all payments?
- Have you filed all income tax returns for the prior four years? Do you anticipate any tax refunds for the current year?
- Have you made any loans or monetary gifts to family or friends in the last year?
- Have you repaid any loans you had with any family or friends in the last year?
- Do you have any type of personal injury claim or other civil action against any party or parties?
- Are there any omissions or errors that you are aware of in any of your documents?
- Do you want to make any changes to your petition?
If your case involves unusual complexities, the types of questions and length of the meeting may vary.
All in all, the 341 meeting is usually a very short, simple proceeding that is more of a formality than anything else. Although most people may feel apprehensive about the meeting when first learning of the requirement, it is a straightforward experience as long as the petitioner is honest and candid about their financial situation and the information contained in the bankruptcy petition.