What is the meeting of creditors and how does it work?
Many people turn to bankruptcy to obtain relief from overwhelming debt. While bankruptcy can give you a fresh start, it usually doesn’t come easily. There are many hoops a debtor must jump through in order to have the slate wiped clean. One of these hoops is the meeting of creditors.
The meeting of creditors, also known as the 341 hearing, after section 341 of the United States Bankruptcy Code, is a scheduled conference where you meet with the bankruptcy trustee assigned to your case. At this meeting, you might also meet the representatives of some of your creditors, but, contrary to what you might think, creditors usually don’t appear at the meeting unless they have a specific reason to do so.
At the meeting, you will be sworn in by your bankruptcy trustee and required to answer questions under oath. The trustee, not a judge, will be the one asking the questions, along with any creditors who choose to appear.
The purpose of this meeting is to ensure that you have been totally forthcoming on your bankruptcy petition with regard to your assets and income. The trustee will usually inquire as to whether you are due any money that could be used to pay creditors. Essentially, the trustee wants to make sure that you have not committed fraud and see if there is any way to get more money for your creditors. The trustee will ask you standard questions. But, the questions may vary if any of your creditors appear. The meeting will usually only last about 10 to15 minutes.
Many people worry needlessly about the meeting of creditors. They are afraid they will be subjected to a lengthy and intolerable inquisition. This is not the case. As long as you have an experienced bankruptcy attorney to prepare you, you have nothing to be anxious about.