What is The 341 Meeting of the Creditors?
After your bankruptcy petition has been filed, you will be required to attend a hearing in Charleston, SC usually a month after the filing date. Section 341of the Bankruptcy Code requires the debtor to make a personal appearance at a creditor’s meeting (which is why it’s called a 341 meeting). The Trustee appointed to your case, yourself and your attorney will all be in attendance. Your creditors will be notified of this meeting as well even though generally sophisticated creditors rarely show up. The purpose of the meeting is for the Trustee to gather information, and for your creditors to ask questions.
The Meeting of the Creditors will be held in an open court room located at theSun Trust building on 145 King Street Room 225 Charleston, SC 29401. Take the elevator to the second floor and then make a left at the lobby. The courtroom is inside the double doors on the left. You will see signs. There will be a list posted in the waiting room outside the courtroom with all the cases that will be heard that day. Please look for me either in the waiting area directly outside the court room or inside the courtroom usually standing in the back.
Generally approximately 50+ cases are heard per day, each case lasting no more than 5-10 minutes each. When your name is called out during your time slot, you will head to the front of the court room and be sworn in by the Trustee. The meeting will be either tape recorded or recorded by a court reporter.
During this Meeting of the Creditors, the Trustee will ask a few questions that arose from answers on your petition. They will ask these questions to find out more about your financial situation and what may have caused you to file for Bankruptcy and your eligibility. A few of the questions they may ask:
- Could you please state your full name and address?
- Do you own or rent your home?
- If you own your home, where is it located?
- How did you arrive at the value of your home?
- Did you have the opportunity to review your petition prior to filing?
- Did you have the opportunity to sign your petition prior to filing?
- Did you read and review the information sheet from the United Trustee’s office?
- Have you sold, given away, mortgaged or otherwise disposed of substantial assets more than $5,000.00 in the last 6 years?
- Have you listed all of your assets and liabilities on your petition?
- Do you have a right to sue anyone?
- Are you being sued by anyone?
- Are you currently expecting a tax refund? How much?
- Have you paid back any loans to family members in the past year?
- Did you receive a tax refund last year? How much?
- Have you made any recent large payments to creditors or others?
- Do you expect to receive any inheritance or any insurance proceeds?
- Are you currently employed, and if so, by whom?
- Do you currently work outside of the home? Where?
- Is all the information contained on Schedule I (income) concerning your income correct?
- Are all of your expenses as reflected on Schedule J correct?
- Has your job or income changed since you first filed your petition?
- How much did you pay for your bankruptcy services?
- Do you have any domestic support obligations?
- Have you ever filed for Bankruptcy before? When? Where? Did you get a discharge?
- Have you moved since you filed this bankruptcy?
- How often do you get paid?
- What source of income do you have?
- What do you get paid per month?
- Do you have additional income?
- Does anyone owe you money?
You should plan on arriving to the Meeting of the Creditors at least 30 minutes early so that you can watch a couple of cases before you. Since it is an open court room, you can listen to the cases ahead of you and perhaps this will ease your nerves. I know that everyone is nervous for court but I assure you that everyone in that court room feels exactly the same way. You are not alone.
Further, I tell my clients to park in the garage directly across from the Sun Trust building. That way, you will not have to worry about feeding the meter while you wait for your case to be heard.
A lot of my clients ask me how they should dress for a Meeting of the Creditors. You do not need to wear a suit and tie. A good rule of thumb is to dress as if you are going to church and use your best judgment.
The Trustees are not judges and should not be addressed as “Your Honor”, instead address him or her as Sir or Ma’am. The Trustees are not there to judge you and will treat you with respect as long as that is reciprocated. Please answer their questions honestly and to the best of your ability.
Finally, It is also mandatory that you bring your driver’s license and social security card to prove your identity (without this, your case WILL NOT BE HEARD). It has happened before where I have driven 2 ½ hours to Charleston to meet with a client to find out that they oops, forgot their social security card at home. The case was not heard and everyone had to come back another day. Fair warning, I do charge if I have make a second trip to Charleston. If you have misplaced your social security card, please give us a call as there are other identification documents accepted by the Trustee. At the Lam Law Firm, we make it a priority to call you prior to the 341 Meeting of the Creditors to ensure that all your questions have been answered. We want you to feel comfortable and prepared prior to your meeting.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained on this page is for general information, only. It is not intended to be legal advice, nor should you make legal decisions based on this information. Please consult one of our attorneys to see how the law applies to your particular situation.