A Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves the total liquidation of your non-exempt assets. One of the most important steps in the process is the creditor's meeting, also known as the 341 meeting. For many people who file under Chapter 7, this is the only time they must appear before a bankruptcy official. This article examines some of key aspects of the creditor's meeting.
You will not appear in front of a judge at the creditors meeting. The bankruptcy official who presides over the proceeding is called a trustee. His job is to determine the facts surrounding your filing and make sure that all of the information in your filing papers is accurate. He may ask you to provide various documents related to your financial situation, such as tax returns, bank statements and stubs from your paycheck. You might also need to provide copies of any mortgage documents and car titles and show a driver's license or social security card to establish your identity.
The proceeding is called a creditor's meeting because your creditors have the right to attend and ask you questions related to your filing. In most however, creditors do not actually shows up at these meeting. The amount of money at stake in most 341 proceedings simply does not justify the costs involved to the creditor.
The trustee is going to ask you certain questions related to the bankruptcy during the proceedings. Make certain that you answer all of his question as truthfully and completely as possible. Your answers will be given under oath. If you intentionally give any false answers, you risk potential legal action for lying under oath.
The location for the meeting will typically be in a federal building in your area. It will most likely take place in an office in the building and not a courtroom.
Your attendance at the creditor's meeting is mandatory. If you do not appear, then the trustee is likely to dismiss your filing, which means you will still owe your debts. If you have an emergency that makes attending the proceedings impossible, contact the trustee immediately.
In rare cases, the trustee might order a follow-up meeting. This might occur if you did not bring all of the required documents or the trustee wants more information about your assets.
Creditor's meeting are usually nothing to be anxious about. If you need more information on the subject, or want advice on filing for Chapter 7, contact an experienced bankruptcy lawyer.