After filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy petition, the next step is to attend a 341 meeting of creditors.
Sometimes referred to informally as a “341 Hearing,” the meeting of creditors is scheduled by the court within thirty (30) days of filing and it is an opportunity for your trustee and creditors to ask you questions about your case, though it is very rare for creditors to attend.
If a creditor does attend, he or she is usually there to ask whether you intend to reaffirm a debit or to ask about the location and condition of their collateral. While it is optional for a creditor to attend, the debtor(s) must attend. For most debtors, the meeting of creditors is the only time you will have to go to bankruptcy court.
Before the meeting of creditors, you will receive a letter from the trustee assigned to your case, including a questionnaire, a bankruptcy information sheet, and a list of documents he or she requires to fully administer your case and determine whether you are eligible for a chapter 7 discharge.
You must answer the questionnaire and give all documents to the trustee by the deadline he or she provides, usually ten (10) days before the date of your meeting of creditors.
What Happens at the 341 Hearing
When you arrive at the meeting of creditors, you will be asked to present two forms of identification: photo identification (such as a driver’s license, passport, or legal resident alien card) and social security identification (such as your social security card, W-2 from the most recent tax year, a recent pay stub, or any other official document as long as it contains your complete social security number).
This is so that the trustee can confirm you are the person who filed bankruptcy. If you fail to answer the trustee on time or fail to bring the required two forms of identification to your hearing, it most likely will be rescheduled, which could result in a delay of your discharge, and additional attorney’s fees. An experienced chapter 7 attorney can help you prepare for your 341 hearing.
At your meeting of creditors, the trustee will introduce himself and call attendance. It is not unusual for 5-10 cases to be scheduled for the same time slot, but most individual meetings last 5 minutes.
Each debtor will be called one a time to a small table where the trustee will check your identification and place you under oath. The following questions are the standard questions a trustee will ask you at a 341 meeting of creditors:
- Did you personally review and sign the bankruptcy petition and schedules filed in your case?
- Is the information provided in your bankruptcy petition and schedules complete and accurate to the best of your knowledge?
- Did you list all of your sources of income?
- Did you list all of your debts?
- Did you list all of your property?
- Have you ever filed bankruptcy before?
- Have you filed all of your tax returns for the last 3 years?
- Are you expecting a tax refund for the most recent tax year?
- Did you read the bankruptcy information sheet?
- Are you obligated to pay any alimony or child support?
- Do you have a claim against someone else for money, property or personal injury?
- Do you anticipate receiving any inheritance in the next six months?
- Have you resided in Arizona for the last two years?
- Has your address changed since your filed your bankruptcy petition?
Your trustee may ask more specific questions about your case and notify you whether he or she needs any additional information.
For example, your trustee may ask how you valued certain assets or whether you transferred any assets prior to filing bankruptcy. Remember that you are under oath and must answer all questions truthfully to the best of your knowledge.
If you do not understand any of the trustee’s (or creditor’s) questions, you should ask them to rephrase or clarify— do not guess.
Once all questions are asked, your trustee will adjourn the hearing and you will be free to go. Most debtors will receive their discharge within 60 days after their 341 meeting of creditors.