The Meeting of Creditors: What You Should Expect

Everyone who files bankruptcy must attend a hearing called a meeting of creditors (also known as a 341 meeting, or simply as a 341).  If you've filed  a Chapter 7, this will likely be the only time you have to show up in person.  If you've filed Chapter 13, you may need to attend one additional hearing.

It's easy to feel nervous about this meeting, but usually there is no need to.  Every bankruptcy case is assigned a trustee.  The trustee's job in a Chapter 7 case is to look for assets for creditors. In Chapter 13, the trustee pays creditors and recommends to the court whether you are paying enough each month.  The trustee runs the meeting of creditors--you won't see a judge there.   You will see your lawyer there, as well as some other lawyers and people who have filed bankruptcy whose meetings are before or after yours.  Creditors are invited, but almost never show up.

You can expect to have the trustee check your ID-- you have to bring a photo ID (like a drivers license) and proof of Social Security number.  Then they swear you in to tell the truth.  You are asked questions about your bankruptcy filing for about 5-10 minutes.  If any creditors show up, they can ask questions, too.   Your attorney will be there with you at this meeting and can help if you have difficulty answering some questions.

And that's it.  The trustee will file a report after the meeting stating whether she believes there are any unprotected assets for creditors (in a Chapter 7) or whether your plan is appropriate (in a Chapter 13).  The large majority of the time, there aren't assets in Chapter 7 cases.  If there are, you and your attorney can talk about what that means.

So long as you show up and tell the truth, you have nothing to fear from the meeting of creditors.