341 Meetings are One of the Most Important Obligations in Bankruptcy
There are several requirements you must meet when you file for bankruptcy. One of the requirements that causes the most stress for filers is the 341 Meeting of Creditors. If there is one thing that people filing for bankruptcy dread, it’s this meeting.
What is the 341 Meeting?
The 341 Meeting of Creditors occurs about 20 to 40 days after you file. You meet face-to-face with creditors and the court-appointed trustee to discuss the discharge of your debts. If a creditor believes its debt should not be discharged in your case, the meeting is an opportunity to explain why. It’s also a chance for you to defend your right to discharge. The meeting also allows the court to clear up any questions it might have about your bankruptcy paperwork.
The meeting is a mandatory requirement for debt discharge. The court schedules the meeting and filers must attend, even if it is inconvenient. Not attending can result in immediate dismissal of your case.
What Happens If I Miss My 341 Meeting?
The worst thing you can do is ignore your obligation to attend the meeting. Even with a good excuse, dismissal is possible. Intentionally missing it or forgetting about it guarantees you’ll miss out on debt discharge. You must take the meeting seriously and do everything you can to attend.
Of course, there are rare occasions on which someone cannot attend their meeting. The best thing you can do if there is a conflict with attending your 341 Meeting is to contact your attorney. There are some rare instances in which your in-person attendance requirement can be waived. (This is more common due to the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders and more meetings are held virtually now.)
There’s a chance your attorney can negotiate a new meeting time with the trustee and with the court. Doing so usually requires paperwork, but there are instances when meetings are rescheduled quickly due to illness. Trustees tend to understand reasonable emergencies but are less forgiving when there was time to make arrangements but you didn’t bother doing so.
To learn more about what will be asked of you at the 341 Meeting, check out this information from Nolo.com.
What If I Can’t Ever Attend My 341 Meeting?
Most of the time, if someone is unable to attend the 341 Meeting, it’s rescheduled for a better time and date. But there are instances in which a person is unable to ever attend a meeting or attend a meeting within a reasonable period. Some of the most common reasons people are unable to attend 341 Meetings include:
- Chronic illness
- Military service
These are situations in which you cannot reschedule the meeting – at least not within a few days or weeks – so other arrangements must be made. Most of the time, you’ll know when you file that attendance at the meeting is impossible and your attorney will help you make arrangements. Just be clear with your bankruptcy attorney about your situation and know that it could make filing for bankruptcy more complicated.
Making Sure Your 341 Meeting of Creditors Doesn’t Result in a Dismissal of Your Case
The worst thing you can do when it comes to your 341 Meeting is to just not show up and assume everything will be fine. It won’t be. You need to address your concerns about the meeting as early as possible in the filing process and make sure you and your attorney come up with a plan for dealing with the meeting.
To learn more about what you can do to make sure the 341 Meeting of Creditors goes smoothly or to discuss filing for bankruptcy with an experienced professional, contact the Law Office of Robert M. Geller at 813-254-5696 to learn more.