The 341 meeting is an important stop on your journey to a brighter financial future.
Officially, this is a meeting of creditors, but it is also where you and your trustee will meet for the first time.
Why the name
Whether you file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, you must attend the 341 meeting. Though this is sometimes called the “meeting of creditors,” the 341 designation refers to the matching section in the United States Bankruptcy Code, which requires a debtor to attend the meeting and answer questions under oath.
Who you will meet
Although creditors may attend the meeting, they rarely appear since they do not lose standing in the bankruptcy process if they stay away. Any creditor who does attend may question you about your finances and the associated bankruptcy proceeding. Beyond that, the 341 meeting is important because this is where you will meet the trustee assigned by the U.S. Trustee’s Office to administer your case. The goal of the trustee is to learn about the circumstances that led to your decision to file for bankruptcy protection. You must answer any and all questions truthfully under penalty of perjury.
What to expect
The 341 meeting is actually a hearing that occurs outside of court, and no judge will be present. The bankruptcy attorney who accompanies you will provide the trustee with the documents he or she needs for the efficient administration of your case. These will likely include copies of your tax returns, bank account information, mortgage documents and more. You only need to bring two items: a government-issued picture ID and proof of your Social Security number.
How to proceed
Keep in mind that you must appear at the 341 meeting. Failure to do so might cause the trustee to request that the court dismiss your bankruptcy case. The meeting does not last long, and you will likely find it interesting as the first stop on the road to a more secure financial future.