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Do you know what to expect at the 341 meeting?

If you are preparing to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will also want to prepare for your 341 meeting.

Also known as the "meeting of creditors," this is a mandatory meeting that you will generally attend between 21 and 40 days after you file your bankruptcy petition.

The 341 meeting explained

The 341 meeting is named for Section 341 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code and requires a debtor to attend, answer questions under oath and face any creditors who might appear. Creditors rarely attend, however, and they do not lose any of their rights by staying away. By the time this meeting occurs, any creditor harassment you have experienced will likely have stopped as a result of your filing, so as you approach the meeting, you may already feel that some of the burden of debt has lifted off your shoulders.

What to expect

A 341 meeting typically only lasts a few minutes, and you will not have to appear in court. It generally will be at an offsite location, such as an office in a federal building. The trustee who is assigned by the United States Trustee will typically ask you questions to better understand your circumstances, so as to be as effective as possible in managing your case. Prior to the meeting, your attorney typically will provide the trustee with any supporting documents needed, such as bank statements, tax returns and real estate deeds. You should bring a photo ID plus verification of your Social Security number.

Keep the appointment

You will want to put the 341 meeting on your calendar and make sure you attend. If you should decide to skip the meeting, the trustee could ask the court to dismiss your case. The court could also hold you in contempt for failing to cooperate. Filing Chapter 7 can be the first step in taking charge of your financial life once more, and the 341 meeting is one of the requirements along the way. Keep your date with the trustee and enjoy knowing that you could be one step closer to a brighter future.

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