The 341 Meeting of Creditors
In every bankruptcy chapter, the person or authorized representative of a business must attend a 341 meeting of creditors that is required under 11 U.S.C. § 341(a). In most routine consumer cases, this is the only hearing that the person filing for bankruptcy must attend. In business cases, this is one of the hearings that the individual familiar with the businesses financial affairs must attend. The meeting is conducted by a bankruptcy trustee, and the bankruptcy trustee has the opportunity to ask questions concerning the bankruptcy filer’s petition, schedules and financial affairs.
When is the 341 meeting scheduled?
The 341 meeting is scheduled shortly after your chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy case has been filed. They are usually scheduled between 20-40 days after the date of filing. In Baltimore, they are held at the Federal courthouse at 101 W. Lombard St., Baltimore, Maryland 21201, and in Greenbelt, at an office building close to the courthouse at 6305 Ivy Lane, Greenbelt, Maryland 20770. The location of your 341 meeting depends on where you live, and case also be scheduled in Hagerstown or Salisbury.
Will creditors show up?
Creditors rarely appear at routine 341 meetings. This is due to the simple fact that it is costly to send a representative or hire an attorney for every routine bankruptcy case.
Do I have to prepare for the 341 meeting of creditors?
After your case has been filed, the trustee will send you a letter requesting documentation that the trustee needs to determine if you have any assets to distribute to creditors. Steiner Law Group takes care of this entire process and has worked with the trustees in the State of Maryland so you do not have to send documentation to the trustee. Additionally, through our entire bankruptcy preparation process, we will be asking you all of the most common questions that the trustee will ask so that you will have few if any surprises at your 341 meeting of creditors. All you have to do is appear at the meeting and bring your driver’s license and proof of social security and answer questions truthfully.
Do I have to appear the 341 meeting of creditors?
Every person filing for bankruptcy must appear at the 341 meeting. In a joint case, both spouses must appear, and in an individual case, the bankruptcy filer must appear. Failure to appear at the 341 meeting could result in the dismissal of your case. If you are unable to make it due to a medical or family emergency, the 341 meeting can be rescheduled.
In certain circumstances, the 341 meeting can be held telephonically. For example, if you are medically unable to leave your home, additional arrangements can be made to allow you to attend over the phone. Steiner Law Group has helped individuals that cannot personally attend their 341 meeting because of medical issues to arrange for 341 meetings over the phone.
Who conducts the 341 meeting?
The 341 meeting is conducted by your case trustee. Trustees usually have many cases scheduled, and you most likely have an opportunity to observe other cases before your case is called. By law, a judge cannot attend the 341 meeting.
What questions will I be asked?
Most trustees have routine questions that they ask every person filing for bankruptcy. The trustees must first verify your identity and proof of social security and administer the oath. The trustee also records the meeting.
After verifying this information, the trustees will typically ask:
- Did you review your bankruptcy petition and schedules prior to signing?
- Is the information listed in your petition and schedules true and accurate?
- Do you have any changes to your petition or schedules?
- Are all of your assets listed in your petition or schedules?
- Are all of your debts listed in your petition or schedules?
- How did you calculate the value of your car?
- How did you calculate the value of your home?
- Are you expecting an inheritance within the next 6 months?
- Have you consulted with an attorney other than your bankruptcy attorney in the past year?
Steiner Law Group has helped many clients prepare for their 341 meeting to make it straightforward for our clients.
What if I answer incorrectly?
The 341 meeting is not a test. It is an opportunity for the case trustee to do their job and determine if there are any assets to distribute to creditors. If you are not sure of the answer, you can always answer “I am not sure.” Many trustees in Maryland will allow your attorney to assist you if the question is a technical question and rephrasing the question would be helpful. The only wrong answer is an untruthful answer.
The 341 meeting is a routine part of every bankruptcy case. The trustees will usually ask similar questions in every meeting, and as long as you are truthful in your responses, you have nothing to worry about. If you have questions about a 341 meeting, please contact Steiner Law Group.