What Happens During The Meeting Of The Creditors?
They generally have about eight to ten meetings of creditors per hour, so if the meeting was scheduled for 10 o’clock, then around 10 o’clock, the trustees appointed by the court would come out and announce all the names, so then everyone along with their attorneys would go into a room.
The trustee would be sitting behind a desk. He would call up the first case so the person would go up to the table, sit down with their attorney and the trustee will swear them in by asking them to raise their right hand and swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth. The trustee will then ask questions about the paperwork which was filed at the court and whether it was complete and accurate. He will ask whether there had been any changes since they had filed the case and if the person was expecting to receive any inheritances.
The trustee would basically just try to make sure that he had been told about everything and that everything had been mentioned in the paperwork. The person would not have any problems if they had told their attorney about everything they wanted and all of their debts, although they should make sure to tell the attorney about everything that they owned before they got to the meeting of creditors, so there would not be any surprises at the meeting.
At the end of 97% of meetings, the trustee will thank the person for coming in and will state that he does not think there is anything there for him to worry about, so that would be the end of it. They will file a ‘no asset report’, meaning there were no assets for the chapter 7 trustee to sell to pay off any of the debts, which is what happens in about 97% of all cases.
How Long Does The Meeting Of The Creditors Last?
The meeting of creditors would generally take about 5 to 10 minutes, and there is really no reason it should take longer than that if it was a straightforward case and the person had told their attorney everything they knew. The rest of the trustees review the paperwork beforehand so they know whether they would have a lot of questions for the case.
There would not be a whole lot of issues to talk about in a standard Chapter 7 case if someone did not own a house and they owed more on their car than it was worth. It should not take more than five or 10 minutes and the more the person had told their attorney beforehand, the easier and quicker the case would go.
What Should Someone Bring With Them?
The person should make sure to bring two things to every meeting of creditors, firstly, they would need to bring a picture ID, which would generally be a driver’s license, or if the person did not drive, a state issued ID. The second thing they would need would be proof of their social security number, which could be a social security card, a W2, or a 1099 from the employer, because they will not have the hearing unless the person has those and the meeting would get rescheduled and the person would have to wait for some time before coming back down.
The person would need to talk to their attorney regarding any other documents. I generally call people the day before the meeting of creditors depending on the trustee, because some trustees want all kinds of paperwork whereas other trustees do not care. I can call the person and tell them exactly what a particular trustee would want once I know who the trustee is.
Trustees sometimes want a recent bank statement, so if the case was filed on the first of the month, then the person might not have their bank statement for that month, and a lot of times the trustees will want to see the exact balance in the bank accounts as of the date of filing, although the proof of identification, picture ID and proof of the social security number are two mandatory documents with every case.
Will There Be A Court Decision Made At A 341?
The trustee would not be a judge, and in some cases they might not even be an attorney, because nobody would have any power to make any decisions about the case. It would be the trustee’s job to find assets he could sell to pay off some of the debts, whereas they would not be there to make any decisions about particular debts, whether or not they could be wiped out in the bankruptcy or whether or not the person should be entitled to a discharge, because those are decisions that would be made by the bankruptcy judge.
The person would not get to see the bankruptcy judge in 99% of Chapter 7 cases, and no issues would come up. The Chapter 7 trustee’s job is merely to look for assets, so he could refer the case to the US Trustees office if he felt there was something wrong or suspicious about the paperwork.
The US Trustees Office are actually employees of the court whose job it is to oversee the bankruptcy process and make sure people are not abusing it, taking advantage of it or lying to the court, in which case, there might be some kind of court action filed against the person if they did not tell their attorney about all of their assets, their income or anything like that.
The main decision the trustees would need to make is whether or not it was an asset case. At the end of most meetings, the trustees will say that they are satisfied and they will file a new asset report, which they would file within 24 to 48 hours after that. Some trustees who want additional paperwork would file a new asset report a couple of weeks later after getting the paperwork from the person, which would be the only decision they would really have the ability to make, instead of an applicant pursuing the assets of the case.
What Happens Right After The 341 Meeting?
It would end it as far as the person having to pay any money to the creditors, if the trustee said he would file a no asset report at the end of the 341 meeting. The only issue would be that the creditors would have 60 days from the date of the meeting of creditors to file any objection to the discharge with the court.
The person would basically have to wait 60 days after that to find out if any of their creditors would object. It is fairly rare for creditors to object to a discharge, although they sometimes do. If someone filed money within 90 days of filing, then they would object to that particular debt being wiped out and they would object if they thought there were other issues implied on the person’s land application or something like that.
The 60-day period would be the only thing the person would have to wait for, which is why it would take about 90 days from the time they filed a Chapter 7 until they got their discharge.
For more information on What Happens At The 341 Meeting of Creditors, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (410) 243-1508 today.