For many bankrupt people, attending a 341 meeting of creditors is generally a light at the end of the tunnel. This meeting may be intimidating, but it’s usually quick and painless especially with a bankruptcy attorney at your side. Just 60 days after your 341 meeting, you may receive your bankruptcy discharge which signifies you’re on your way to a debt free life. For more information on what to do during and after a bankruptcy filing, call O’Bryan Law Offices at 502-400-4020. We offer assistance for bankruptcy filings of all types, including Chapter 7, Chapter 13, and even Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
What is a 341 Meeting of Creditors?
A 341 meeting of creditors is basically what it sounds like: a bankruptcy filer will meet with all their creditors as required by Section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code. For Chapter 7 and 13, a bankruptcy trustee who’s been assigned to your case will lead the meeting. The trustee’s job during this meeting is to:
Prove your identity
Make sure that your annual income is accurate
Look for other sources of income that weren’t previously documented so the creditors can possibly receive as much money as possible
Review all paperwork
Evaluate all assets and property
Search for possible bankruptcy fraud
Although this meeting is often called the 341 meeting of creditors, it’s important to note that while your bankruptcy attorney and trustee will definitely be with you, the creditors most likely won’t attend. Additionally it’s important to note that this is merely a meeting, not a hearing. Therefore, a bankruptcy judge won’t be there and all decisions made during the meeting won’t be legally binding. Lastly, while this meeting sounds daunting, it’s generally very quick. Many different 341 meetings can happen within an hour.
Questions That the Bankruptcy Trustee Might Ask You
Do you own any property or real estate?
If you don’t already own property or real estate, do you have interest in doing so?
Have you completed any property transactions or given any property away in the last year?
Does anyone hold property belonging to you?
Have you filed a claim against a person or a business?
Have you filed a lawsuit in which you are the plaintiff?
Do you have any large medical bills from an illness or an injury?
If someone in your life dies, will you receive any life insurance or inheritance money?
Does anyone owe you money?
Have you paid anyone or bought anything worth more than $600 in the last year?
Were you entitled to a tax refund from the federal or state government when you filed for bankruptcy?
Do you have to pay child support or alimony?
- Have you won any lottery money recently?
Do you own a car?
Have you been financially involved in any business over the last 6 years?
Did you list all your sources of income?
When you filed for bankruptcy, did you have any spare cash, U.S. savings bonds, stocks, Certificates of Deposits, or a safe deposit box in your name?
Some of these questions will attempt to uncover whether or not you intend to abuse bankruptcy laws or whether you’re making improper payments. A common example of bankruptcy law abuse is going on a massive shopping spree right before filing for bankruptcy. If it looks like you bought very expensive items within a certain time frame, trustees may assume that you planned to file for bankruptcy in order to afford these items. Meanwhile, an example of an improper payment would be paying a friend or family member thousands of dollars, leaving you with nothing to pay to creditors.
For these reasons and more, it’s crucial to be as honest as possible during a 341 meeting. Before your questioning, you will certainly have to take an oath to honesty.
What Not To Do at a 341 Meeting
Don’t do these things at a 341 meeting of creditors if you want to have a positive experience:
Don’t lie to the bankruptcy trustee because it’s considered a criminal offense.
Avoid hiding assets from your bankruptcy trustee. Remember that any secret vacation home or secret bank account is traceable through technology and documentation. If you’re hiding anything, your bankruptcy trustee will likely find out about it.
Don’t withhold any information from your bankruptcy trustee. Once again, they will eventually find whatever you’re hiding. Similarly to lying during a 341 meeting, withholding or hiding information from your bankruptcy attorney is a criminal offense. An example of withholding information is not documenting an extra stock brokerage account.
Do I Have to Attend a 341 Meeting of Creditors?
In short, yes. Attending the 341 meeting is mandatory for your bankruptcy case. If you miss it, you will risk losing your bankruptcy case altogether. As stated previously, this meeting is generally quick and simple.
341 Meeting for Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13
341 meetings differ slightly for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. A Chapter 7 trustee will sell any assets that you can’t safeguard with a bankruptcy exemption and then distribute the money to creditors. The 341 meeting will generally be scheduled 21 to 40 days after you file for Chapter 7.
Meanwhile, a Chapter 13 trustee will assess the feasibility of your proposed Chapter 13 repayment plan during a 341 meeting. The Chapter 13 trustee will consistently deliver monthly payments to creditors if the judge approves the plan at the confirmation hearing. The 341 meeting will generally be scheduled 21 to 50 days after you file for Chapter 13.
What to Bring to the 341 Meeting of Creditors
Before attending the 341 meeting, you need to gather your paperwork for the bankruptcy trustee to review. You should bring:
A photo ID, such as a driver’s license, a passport, or military ID
Something that has your social security number, including a social security card or a W2 statement
Mortgage or rental contracts
Bankruptcy paperwork that you previously submitted to the court
Lastly, make sure that you don’t bring your phone, computer, or tablet to the 341 meeting.
What Happens After a 341 Meeting?
You’re not completely out of the woods yet after the 341 meeting of creditors. You will still need to do what’s expected of you until your bankruptcy case comes to a close. Here are some things you may have to do after your 341 meeting:
Give the trustee access to non-exempt property. Basically, non-exempt property is what you don’t have to keep so your trustee may sell it and give the money to your creditors.
Deal with reaffirmed debts, but only if your bankruptcy plan involves agreeing to new debt terms (also called reaffirmation). Basically, you will start making payments on these debts after your 341 meeting. Additionally, you should continue making payments on debts that aren’t impacted by your bankruptcy filing.
Wait for a bankruptcy discharge or an objection to discharge. This will come approximately 60 days after your 341 meeting. A bankruptcy discharge basically means that you’re debt free and that your case is coming to an end. Meanwhile, an objection to discharge indicates that you lied about something in your meeting or that you failed to qualify for a discharge under the bankruptcy code.
Attend a debt counseling course with a bankruptcy attorney at O’Bryan Law. This course will help you stay debt free by teaching you how to manage your finances responsibly. The ultimate goal of a Kentucky debt counseling course is to avoid filing for bankruptcy again in the future.
Call a Bankruptcy Attorney at O’Bryan Law Offices Today
At O’Bryan Law Offices, we put our significant credit and bankruptcy knowledge to work. Whether our clients wish to file for bankruptcy to reorganize their finances or they simply need debt counseling, we can help. A skilled Louisville bankruptcy attorney will guide you through each step of the process, ensuring that you emerge in a better financial position. Call 502-400-4020 to book a free consultation.