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Will my creditors attend the 341 meeting?

A 341 meeting, also referred to as a meeting of creditors, is a necessary step in the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process. Though it is called the meeting of creditors, it's often the case that no creditors are present for this meeting, which occurs within a month or so of the filing of a bankruptcy petition.

The 341 meeting usually only takes about 15 minutes, especially if no creditor is present for the meeting. The meeting involves a trustee assigned to the case asking questions of the debtors. The trustee will ensure that the debtors understand the process of bankruptcy and might ask questions about information in the bankruptcy petition.

During the 341 meeting, the debtor is under oath to tell the truth about issues of credit, debt, income and expense. In a Chapter 7 case, the trustee is usually attempting to ensure both that the individual wants to file for bankruptcy and that he or she qualifies for Chapter 7.

Creditors have a right to be present at the meeting, though they give up no rights if they are not present. Creditors who attend the case can ask questions of the debtor regarding anything pertinent to the case, though this is rare unless there is a concern that information is inaccurate in the petition.

If the trustee is not satisfied with information in the filing or paperwork, then he or she can continue the 341 meeting at another time, providing the petitioner with a charge to come up with the proper documentation. While the trustee follows the law, he or she is not a professional who petitions for or against you. Your own attorney is the professional that works on your behalf for an outcome that is best for you.

Source: U.S. Bankruptcy Court, "Debtor Frequently Asked Questions," accessed May 13, 2016

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