Any debtor who files for bankruptcy must appear in person once, regardless of the chapter they choose. At the initial creditors’ meeting, that appearance is made. Since the judge isn’t there, it isn’t truly “court”; rather, it is a conference with the trustee and any creditors who wish to attend. It’s most likely not even in a courtroom, but rather in a meeting room. The majority of consumer lawsuits have no creditors at all.
The initial creditors’ meeting
Each case’s creditors’ conference is scheduled by the court, typically 30 days following the filing. After the part of the bankruptcy legislation that mandates it, the conference is colloquially known as the “341 meeting.”
The bankruptcy trustee in charge of the case preside and questions the debtor on the information included in the bankruptcy schedules.
The trustee strives to acquire data to help him in his liquidation of such assets for payment to creditors when there are assets whose worth exceeds the permissible exemptions.
He could request company records, other documentation pertaining to the debtor’s assets or financial background, or both.
No test or investigation
At the meeting, neither the trustee nor the creditors may take any action that resolves a key issue in the case. It is a meeting to gather information.
Of course, the trustee or a creditor may file a motion or an adversarial procedure in the bankruptcy court for the judge to consider if new or concerning information are revealed at the conference. The majority of 341 encounters are brief, pleasant, and unremarkable. The debtor is not required to provide a reason for declaring bankruptcy. At the 341 meeting, no rights are gained or lost. The 341 meeting is not required for creditors to submit claims or oppose to discharges.
What transpires at the gathering?
Your identity documentation and social security number are initially checked by the trustee. If you forget the necessary goods, you’ll probably have to return.
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You are sworn in by the trustee, who then starts interrogating you. I can provide some advice for responding to the trustee’s inquiries. Either a court reporter or a tape recorder records the meeting. At the 341 meeting, the trustee usually asks the following questions:
Before signing, did you read the schedules?
- Are all of the assets listed?
- All of your debts were they listed?
- The schedules are they correct?
- Do you need to change anything about the schedules?
- Have you spent the last two years living in this state?
- Do you owe anyone any alimony for the home?
- Do you have auto insurance?
- Have your credit cards been destroyed?
The trustee might also want to know more about any unique assets or business interests, as well as how you arrived at the asset values.
Are the debtors going to be there?
Although creditors are invited to the conference, the majority choose not to attend.
Usually, the creditors who do show up have security interests in the debtor’s assets or believe they have been duped. Questions posed to the debtor under oath are allowed by creditors. Each creditor typically has a short time slot at the 341 meeting due to the time restrictions of the majority of trustees’ calendars. Under the terms of Bankruptcy Rule 2004, creditors may seek the court for an order forcing the debtor to attend for a subsequent examination, such as a deposition. The majority of 341 sessions end after the debtor makes their initial appearance.
It’s often the last time that a Chapter 7 client is seen, barring the case of confirming a debt or a move to prevent a lien.