The Bankruptcy Meeting of Creditors
Most of the time the only appearance a debtor must make in a chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy case is at the Meeting of Creditors, also known as the 341 hearing which refers to the Section of the Bankruptcy Code requiring the hearing. This is a mandatory hearing that the debtor or debtors must attend to receive a discharge. It is also the part of the bankruptcy process that creates the most anxiety for debtors.
What is the Purpose of the Meeting of Creditors?
The Meeting of Creditors is the opportunity for creditors to examine the debtor under oath regarding the bankruptcy petition. The trustee assigned to the bankruptcy case will conduct the hearing. With limited exceptions, most chapter 7 debtors will never see a bankruptcy judge. Although they rarely come, all the debtors’ creditors are invited to the hearing.
What Happens at the Meeting of Creditors?
Meetings of Creditors are scheduled in block times so multiple debtors will be scheduled in half hour blocks. The trustee assigned to your case will be seated at the front of the room and begin the half hour block with a short introduction. When your case is called you will approach the trustee’s desk who will swear you in. Before the examination begins the debtor is required to show a state issued photo identification card and proof of social security number. The trustee will begin the examination with standard questions that he or she must ask all debtors. The trustee will then ask specific questions he or she may have based upon the individual petition filed in your case. As stated above, your creditors are also invited to attend the hearing but rarely choose to come. If a creditor decides to attend the hearing, the creditor is subject to limits on the time allowed for examining the debtor because the hearings themselves are limited in time.
Bankruptcy or Other Debt Issues?
The Kepple Law Group is highly knowledgeable in bankruptcy matters and can advise clients in all aspects of bankruptcy proceedings.