After filing for bankruptcy, get ready for the 341 meeting

Once you decide to file for bankruptcy, your attorney will help you determine whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is the best solution for your circumstances. In either case, you will have to attend the 341 meeting, where you might meet with some of your creditors.

What it stands for

The name for the 341 meeting, also known as the “meeting of creditors,” comes from Section 341 of Title 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. The hearing takes place outside of court. No judge will be present, but you will meet the trustee assigned to your bankruptcy case. He or she will ask questions to become better acquainted with your circumstances and the elements of your case, which you must answer under penalty of perjury.

Other possible attendees

Your creditors will receive notice of the 341 meeting, and they may attend. They can question you about your bankruptcy case, your resources and other matters regarding the debts you owe. However, creditors rarely appear. They do not waive their rights relative to payments if they choose not to attend.

The documents involved

On your behalf, your attorney can provide the necessary documents for the 341 meeting. These would include items such as your bank statements, tax returns, pay stubs that attest to your income, mortgage documents, property deeds and titles to vehicles or boats. You must bring government-issued photo identification such as your passport or driver’s license, as well as your Social Security card.

Avoiding problems

Be prepared to answer the questions asked by the trustee in an honest and forthright manner. If your answers are unsatisfactory, the hearing may be continued. If you fail to appear altogether, the trustee may ask the court to dismiss your bankruptcy case.

Keep in mind that the 341 meeting usually only lasts a few minutes, and it is an important step on the path to a brighter financial future for you and your family.