Perhaps you are about to petition for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection. Within a few weeks of your filing date, you must attend the 341 meeting.

This is sometimes called the meeting of creditors, but there is another aspect to it: The 341 meeting is a major stop on your bankruptcy journey because you will meet your trustee.

Acting under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code

The United States Bankruptcy Code requires you, as the debtor, to attend the 341 meeting, the initial meeting of creditors. The name comes from Section 341 of the Code. The trustee assigned to your case from the Office of the United States Trustee will conduct the hearing. He or she will want information that makes your bankruptcy administration go as smoothly as possible. Therefore, you must truthfully answer questions under oath. The trustee will also want to ensure you understand both the positive and negative effects of a bankruptcy filing.

Inviting creditors

The Office of the U.S. Trustee will notify your creditors of the time and place for your 341 meeting. Creditors may attend and ask you questions concerning your bankruptcy; for example, they can inquire about the type and location of your assets. However, creditors rarely come to these meetings. They do not waive their rights if they choose not to appear.

What to bring

Your attorney will accompany you to the 341 meeting and provide documents the trustee needs. Every bankruptcy proceeding is different, but, among other items, trustees usually expect to receive federal and state tax returns, payroll information, bank statements and perhaps a property tax card for any real estate owned. The only items you must bring with you are your Social Security card and a government-issued photo ID, such as your passport or driver’s license. Keep in mind that the 341 meeting is held outside of court and no judge will be present. Despite the fact that the hearing usually only lasts a few minutes, it is an important stop on your journey to a debt-free future.

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