While your attorney will deal with most of the work needed for filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you are still required to meet with creditors. The meeting of creditors is also known as the “341 meeting” because Section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code mandates these meetings.
It sounds a lot scarier than it is in reality, but you’ll still want to work with your Salt Lake City bankruptcy attorney to be prepared for your 341 meeting.
If you’re dreading your 341 meeting, the reality is that creditors rarely appear. While these meetings are held so that creditors can ask questions, they are limited in what they can ask, and most of the information they need is already available in the petition and schedules.
Other than you and/or your spouse and your attorney, the other primary participant of the 341 meeting is the Chapter 7 trustee. The trustee sets up and oversees the meeting, and they typically ask several questions. The trustee uses the meeting to understand your estate’s assets and liabilities. In the past, these meetings have been held in person, but since the spread of COVID-19, these meetings now take place virtually. This works out really well because you can attend the meeting from anywhere with little disruption to your day. Hopefully, this is a permanent change, even after the novel coronavirus is under control.
Typically, a 341 meeting is informal. These meetings do not occur in the federal courtroom where a case is heard, and the judge will not be present. It falls to the trustee to oversee the meeting from start to finish.
The meeting itself is nothing like a trial. Instead of a formal series of questions from a hostile attorney, it typically involves an informal discussion with the trustee.
In rare cases, a creditor may appear at a meeting for a specific purpose. Fortunately, they are limited in the questions they can ask you. Their questions can only relate to assets or other financial matters, which usually prevents the meeting from becoming confrontational. In rare cases, a creditor or trustee can subsequently ask the Court for permission to take your formal deposition, known as a 2004 Exam.
The 341 meeting is a crucial step in the bankruptcy process. For you, it represents one more step on the road to financial stability. Creditors have 60 days from the 341 meeting to formally oppose the discharge of your debt. Failing to do so could mean that a discharge is most likely.
It’s important that you are prepared to answer any questions that a trustee or creditor might ask. Additionally, you should always plan to have a local bankruptcy attorney with you for the duration of the meeting. Blue Bee Bankruptcy Law always attends these meetings with our clients.
Don’t go it alone—engage the services of a trusted bankruptcy attorney to prep and accompany you to a 341 meeting of creditors. Your attorney is also well-versed in other issues that might arise during your Salt Lake City bankruptcy case. For a confidential consultation, call our firm today.