The Meeting of Creditors, sometimes called the 341 Meeting, is the only in-person obligation you have in relation to your bankruptcy filing. If you are like more people, you are likely already nervous about facing your creditors at this meeting. The idea of walking into a room filled with people to whom you owe money can be very intimidating. Luckily, whatever nightmare scenario you have imagined in your head is unlikely to actually occur in reality.
The purpose of the meeting is for you to explain your reason for filing. If you are honest about your reason and share the information your bankruptcy attorney has told you is appropriate, the meeting is likely to be quick and painless.
Most Meetings of Creditors are attended only by you, your attorney, and your bankruptcy trustee. The bankruptcy judge overseeing your case is legally not permitted to attend the meeting. And in most cases, creditors do not even bother showing up. Should a creditor be in attendance, it is in an information-gathering capacity and he or she will not be permitted to harass you. The meeting takes place in a private conference or boardroom – not the crowded courtroom or town square you might have imagined!
What Happens at the Meeting of Creditors?
The meeting begins with your swearing in. Everything you say during the meeting is under oath, so it is essential you speak honestly and openly about the details of your case.
In addition to you stating your case, the bankruptcy trustee will ask questions and gather information. He or she wants to be sure your bankruptcy is filed in good faith. There might also be additional questions about your paperwork. If your attorney has assisted you in completing it, there will likely be few problems.
The Meeting of Creditors is Not an Opportunity to Belittle or Embarrass You
Trustees and any creditors in attendance are expected to behave professionally. You are not there to be judged or criticized. Should anyone behave out of turn, your attorney is there to protect you.
As long as everyone’s questions are answered during the meeting there will be no need for a follow-up. However, should one be requested, do not panic. Sometimes questions are missed or additional clarification is needed. Your attorney will advise you as to whether there is cause for concern.
If you are like most people who file for bankruptcy, you will be nervous prior to the meeting, but once it is concluded, you will wonder why you were ever worried. If you are concerned about your Meeting of Creditors or you have other questions about bankruptcy, contact the Law Offices of Robert M. Geller at 813.254.5696 to schedule your consultation.