Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy: a brief intro to the 341 meeting
Bankruptcy is a valuable tool provided by the government to grant individuals like you the chance for a fresh start. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is one of the options available to consumers and involves the sale of your nonexempt property to pay off debts. The other alternative, Chapter 13 bankruptcy, involves the development of a repayment plan instead.
Both of these require you to attend a 341 meeting, or creditors’ meeting. This is a meeting with your bankruptcy trustee, your legal representative if you choose to have one and your creditors (in some cases). While this may seem like a scary prospect, it is usually simple and often short, sometimes ending in under five minutes.
The 341 meeting is just the process of making sure all of the necessary information is right, trying to spot out possible estate administration problems and identifying nonexempt property. The goal is for the trustee to review the details and check their accuracy. It is not a court hearing, and, in spite of its name, your creditors may not even be there. The meeting is not for them to pressure you. In most cases, they opt out since it is basically an information session.
Your bankruptcy trustee puts you under oath to be honest and verifies your identity by asking to see your photo ID and a document showing your social security number. Said trustee then asks you required questions and may ask some discretionary questions. These may be about nonexempt assets (for Chapter 7), repayment plan setup (for Chapter 13), income, child support, spousal support or other factors.
The idea of a 341 meeting is intimidating to many. However, as long as you answer all questions truthfully, it usually is not as bad as you may think.