What happens at a Section 341 Meeting of Creditors in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case?
The Meeting of Creditors is also sometimes referred to as a 341 Meeting. This refers to the section of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code that authorizes and outlines the Meeting. The Meeting is held before the case trustee and not a judge. The Meetings are recorded and you are answering the questions under penalties of perjury. Every debtor must attend their Meeting in person (with very limited exceptions). It is oftentimes the only meeting you will have to attend in your bankruptcy case. In the Tampa Division of Middle District of Florida, the Meetings are relatively short, lasting around 5-10 minutes each.
The Meeting is an opportunity for the trustee to verify that you are who you say you are, to ensure that you understand specific aspects and consequences of filing bankruptcy a case, to ask specific questions about your bankruptcy filing that may not be evident from your petition, and to determine if you have any assets which are not exempt, and therefore may be taken by the trustee and sold to repay your creditors.
If you have unexempt assets, the trustee may take this opportunity to inquire as to your intention. For example, do you have funds from other sources in which to "buy back" your assets from the trustee? If those issues aren't addressed at your Meeting, you can expect the trustee to contact you (or your attorney, if you are represented by one), to resolve any outstanding issues.
Another function of the Meeting is to provide an opportunity for creditors to ask you questions they have concerning your financial condition and intention with regard to your assets. Creditors rarely attend the Meetings.