What Is A Creditors Meeting Or A Section 341 Meeting?
When you file for bankruptcy, the Bankruptcy Court will assign your case to a trustee who will manage the case and see if there are any non-exempt assets available to pay creditors. The name and contact information of your trustee will be listed on the Notice of Bankruptcy Case that will be filed by the court within 24-48 hours of your case being filed. The Notice will also contain important dates and deadlines.
The Notice will tell you when and where the trustee’s creditors meeting, also called a Section 341 meeting, will be held and whether it will be in person or by telephone. You must attend this meeting or your case may be dismissed. At the meeting, the trustee will ask you for proof of identification including a government-issued ID card and your Social Security card. It is very important that you have the actual Social Security card with you. If you don’t have a copy, you will need to go to your local Social Security office at least two weeks before and apply to a replacement card.
The trustee will also request that you give them certain documents at least one week before the meeting, including tax returns, statements for your mortgage and car payments, and pay stubs. Each trustee requests different types of documents so your attorney will guide you through gathering the documents and will provide them to the trustee.
The trustee will flag schedules that are missing information or are confusing or appear to be misleading. My clients’ creditors meetings usually take only 5-15 minutes because I am very careful that the schedules I file are accurate and complete. If you don’t hire an attorney, there is a good chance you will have trouble answering the trustee’s questions or providing them with all of the necessary documents.
If your schedules raise any concerns, you may be asked to provide additional information or documents and you may have to make another appearance before the trustee. At best, you provide the information, the trustee is satisfied, and they close the meeting and your bankruptcy proceeds. At worst, the trustee may decide based on your schedules and your answers at the meeting that your case was not filed in good faith and they will move to have your case dismissed.
You will be sworn to tell the truth under penalty of perjury. Lying about your assets is serious business. It can result in your case being dismissed or in worst case scenarios referred to the US Attorney’s office for potential prosecution.
This is why it is so important to have an attorney prepare your schedules and to have an attorney with you at the creditors meeting. I personally appear at each of my client’s meetings. Below are examples of some of the questions the trustee will ask. I meet with each of my clients the day before the meeting to go over the questions and address any concerns they have. My clients go into the creditors meeting confident and ready to answer the trustee’s questions and prepared for any issues that might arise.
Click on the link below to see some of the questions that are frequently asked at creditors meetings.
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