It’s hard enough to come to the grips with having to file for bankruptcy, only to find out that you have to attend a 341 meeting where most people believe they will be grilled by the bankruptcy trustee. Prior to filing bankruptcy, many people spend quite a bit of time reading blogs online and websites discussing the topic of the fabled meeting of creditors or 341 meeting. Many people imagine this big room where they get shut down in the front and have bright lights in their face as the bankruptcy trustee asks frightening questions of why the individual is filing bankruptcy. Just to calm your fears, this is nowhere near what happens.
Let’s start from the beginning. When filing bankruptcy an individual first takes their pre-bankruptcy credit counseling course and then files their bankruptcy petition. After filing the bankruptcy petition the automatic stay will go into place and the creditors will be notified of the pending bankruptcy filing. The bankruptcy court will set a date for the meeting of creditors usually about 4 to 6 weeks after the bankruptcy filing date. During this time, the creditors will no longer be able to contact the debtor trying to collect on the debts. Many people stress out during this time because of the pending meeting of creditors and not knowing what to expect. Having . This is another reason why it’s best to not file a do-it-yourself bankruptcy and have a bankruptcy attorney represent you. The bankruptcy attorney will prepare their client for what to expect during the 341 meeting. The meeting of creditors usually takes a total of 10 min. and the bankruptcy trustee will has some sample questions regarding the bankruptcy petition. While a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is called a liquidation bankruptcy, rarely does anything get liquidated without the prior knowledge of the debtor. Many unprepared debtors filing bankruptcy think the bankruptcy trustee is some big-name guy that rolls up to their house driving a big box truck to load up all their belongings and sell them at auction. With a large number of people filing bankruptcy these days, the bankruptcy trustee has no reason to gather property to sell and create more work for themselves. Usually, the only thing they’re interested in is cash, collectibles and real estate that is non-exempt and easy to liquidate. The bankruptcy trustee weighs out the cost of recovery versus the reward. If it’s not worth their while they won’t waste their time.
Having a bankruptcy attorney preparing the bankruptcy petition will make sure that all the bankruptcy exemptions are used to the maximum amount and everything is correct going into the meeting. As long as the debtor is honest and not hiding something from their bankruptcy attorney, the meeting should go by as expected with nothing exciting happening and the debtor should receive their bankruptcy discharge a few months later.