Choosing To Change Your Finances

Frequently Asked Questions About 341 Meetings

by Luis Hawkins

If you file for chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy, you're required to attend a 341 meeting. This is a meeting presided over by a bankruptcy trustee who is handling your case. It provides an opportunity for the creditors and bankruptcy trustees to question you under oath regarding your assets, liabilities, and other issues regarding your bankruptcy case. Here are some frequently asked questions about 341 meetings.

Must One Attend the 341 Meeting?

If you want to move your bankruptcy case forward, you must attend the 341 meeting. Your bankruptcy attorney will prepare you for the meeting by advising you on what to expect and how to respond to the questions. If you fail to attend this meeting, your trustee may dismiss your bankruptcy case.

The meeting isn't long unless there are big issues involved. For example, if you did something suspicious like incurring debts or selling valuable property before filing, the session may be take longer than a few minutes. If your trustee finds no issue with your bankruptcy petition, then they'll give you the green light to proceed with the filing.

What Questions Should One Expect?

The questions that a trustee asks during the 341 meeting addresses basic information like your name, current address, and Social Security number. The trustee will also determine whether you're familiar with the information in the petitions and require you to confirm that the information is accurate. If there are errors in your bankruptcy paperwork, prepare to justify them.

Your trustee will also question you about the assets and creditors listed in your bankruptcy forms. The trustee will also ask you whether you have filed in the past. Bankruptcy law firms impress upon clients to be completely honest and straightforward during this question-and-answer session.

What Will Have a Negative Impact on Your Bankruptcy Case?

During the meeting of creditors, there are three things that will have a negative impact on your bankruptcy case: 

  • Undisclosed and undervalued property
  • Unverified income
  • Excessive expenses

The value of a property is essential because, under chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcies, creditors are entitled to an amount equal to non-exempt property. If the trustee finds that you exaggerated the value of an asset or sold an asset for less than its worth, this will cause problems.

The trustee will also look into your income to determine whether you qualify for chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy. If your income doesn't match your bankruptcy petition disclosures, this will affect your case. Lastly, the expenses you disclose on the means test, and Schedule J will be reviewed. If these expenses are too high, your application for chapter 7 bankruptcy will be declined, and you may be asked to file chapter 13 bankruptcy. Reach out to a bankruptcy law attorney for more assistance.