What is the 341 Hearing?

Every debtor, regardless of the chapter, must make one appearance in the case, though it is not really in “court” since the judge is not present. Bankruptcy court for the most part is quite uneventful.  The nice thing about bankruptcy court is that it runs on time and take about 10-15 minutes for most hearings.

The court schedules a meeting of creditors in each case, usually about 30 days after the filing.  The meeting is nick-named the “341 meeting” after the section of the bankruptcy code that requires it.

The trustee assigned to the case presides and asks questions about the contents of the bankruptcy paperwork that your attorney filed on your behalf.  You must appear at the meeting and answer questions under oath about your assets and liabilities.

The 341 meeting is not a test or an inquisition.  Neither the trustee nor the creditors can take any action at the meeting that decides any question central to the case.  It is a fact finding meeting.

Of course, if new or troubling facts come out at the meeting, the trustee or a creditor can file a motion or adversary motion in the bankruptcy court for the judge’s consideration.

Most 341 meetings are short, sweet, and uneventful.  You do not have to justify filing bankruptcy.  No rights are won or lost at the 341 meeting.  Creditors do not have to attend the 341 meeting to file a claim or object to discharge.

What you need to bring to the hearing:

• Bring a picture ID. (Acceptable identification includes: drivers license, government issued pictured identification, passport, or permanent resident alien card.)

•  Proof of Social Security Number. (Acceptable documents include Social Security card, current W-2 forms, or wage statements.) You can get a new Social Security Card by calling 1-800-772-1213 or go to www.ssa.gov .

• If your spouse is filing jointly with you, bring him or her.

•  DON’T BRING A CELL PHONE.

You will want to get there a little early to listen to the questions that are asked and prepare for your turn. Normally, the Trustee will ask you the following questions:

•  What is your name?

•  What is your address?

•  What is your social security number?

•  Did you list all your assets and all your debts?

•  Do you understand what a reaffirmation is?

•  Do you understand what the effects of a bankruptcy are?

•  Have you given any property to the Trustee?

•  Have you recently won the lottery or inherited property?

•  Have you given away or transferred any property within the last year?

•  Why did you file bankruptcy or what caused your bankruptcy?

•  Do you understand what a Chapter 13 is and did you consider it?

•  Do you understand what a discharge is?

•  When did you know that you were bankrupt?

•  Do you have proof of full coverage insurance on your car?

•  How much is your home worth?

•  Have you recently inherited anything?

Creditors may appear and ask questions at the 341 hearing, but normally no one shows. If a secured creditor shows the only question they normally ask is whether or not you wish to reaffirm.

Do You Show Up With Me at the Hearing?

Of course! We take care of you, and hold your hand through the process. We don’t just file the paperwork.

What Do I Wear to the Hearing?

Don’t wear cut-offs or jeans with holes in them and don’t wear flip-flops. Suits are not required, but dress properly for a hearing in Federal Court. Be respectful of the process.
Most importantly, TELL THE TRUTH. You will be under oath. 

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