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From Executive Director
Regardless of whether you file bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, within a reasonable time (normally between 20 days and 40 days) after you file your bankruptcy petition, the bankruptcy trustee will conduct what is known as a 341 meeting or a meeting of creditors. These two names are used because section 341 of the bankruptcy code requires that a meeting of creditors be held.
What Is The 341 Meeting
The 341 meeting is a time when you meet with the bankruptcy trustee and interested creditors. You are required to attend. Your creditors may attend, but are not required to attend. The bankruptcy judge is not allowed by law to attend because there may be matters that go before the judge later in your bankruptcy and no one wants the judge influenced by what was said or done at the 341 meeting.
At the 341 meeting of creditors, the bankruptcy trustee and interested creditors may ask you questions about your financial status and your bankruptcy. You are put under oath to answer all questions truthfully. If you do not tell the truth, you may be liable for perjury and your bankruptcy may be dismissed.
341 Meeting Questions
Because both Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustees and Chapter 13 bankruptcy trustees are charged with verifying the information contained in your bankruptcy petition, some of the questions are the same in both types of bankruptcy. Generally, the trustee will ask questions that clarify information in your petition. But after the verification type of questions, the questions will vary depending on whether you filed bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy 341 Meeting Questions
Aside from the verification type of questions, a Chapter 7 trustee will ask you if you have
transferred or given away any property within a certain period of time prior to filing bankruptcy. Under both federal and state law, the bankruptcy trustee may avoid certain transfers and recover the property if it will lead to your creditors receiving money that they would otherwise not receive. There is not a universal time period to look at because every state has a different time period for avoiding transfer of property.
At the 341 meeting, the Chapter 7 trustee is also required by law to question you to ensure that you are aware of the following:
- That you understand the potential consequences of seeking a discharge in bankruptcy, including the effects on your credit history;
- That you understand that you may be able to file bankruptcy under a different chapter of the bankruptcy code, such as a Chapter 13 for individuasl with steady income or a Chapter 12 for family farmers;
- That you understand the effect of receiving a discharge of debts under Chapter 7; and
- That you understand the effect of reaffirming a debt, including how the reaffirmation will affect the discharge in bankruptcy in your case.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy 341 Meeting Questions
In addition to the verification type of questions, a Chapter 13 trustee will ask you questions about your proposed Chapter 13 plan. The bankruptcy trustee is charged with giving you non-legal advice and trying to ensure that you will be able to complete your plan. Towards that end, the trustee will ask you questions that lead the trustee to either believe that you can complete your plan or that your plan is not workable. If there appear to be problems with your proposed plan, the trustee will ask you questions about the possible problems and make suggestions on how to solve the problems.
End Of 341 Meeting
At the end of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy meeting of creditors, the Chapter 7 trustee will generally either state that your case is a “no asset” case or that it is an asset case and that he will take further action. If it is a no asset case, your bankruptcy is basically over except for the required credit counseling. If your case is an asset case, you may or may not have to go before the trustee again depending on how things go.
After the Chapter 13 bankruptcy 341 meeting, you will have a hearing before the bankruptcy judge to have your Chapter 13 plan confirmed. If everything went right in the meeting of creditors, the bankruptcy trustee will recommend that the Court confirm your plan. However, if after the 341 meeting, the bankruptcy trustee has concerns that you will not be able to complete your plan, the trustee may recommend to the bankruptcy Court that your plan not be confirmed or approved.
This is general information only. If you have any questions whatsoever, talk with a lawyer licensed in your state who has experience with Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 13 bankruptcy, or bankruptcy in general.
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