If you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the bankruptcy trustee will hold a meeting of creditors (also called the 341(a) hearing or 341 meeting). The 341 hearing is an opportunity for the Chapter 13 trustee and your creditors to ask you questions about your proposed Chapter 13 plan and your ability to make payments under the plan as well as question you about your finances and assets.
The Trustee Will Review Your Case Before the 341 Hearing
Before the 341 Meeting, your trustee will review all the paperwork you filed with the court, including your bankruptcy petition; your schedules showing your assets, debts, income, and expenses; your Statement of Financial Affairs, which provides a brief history of your major financial transactions such as real estate sales, business ownership and large payments to creditors; and your Chapter 13 plan.
Timing and Location of the Meeting of Creditors
In a Chapter 13 case, the 341 meeting will be set for at least 21 days but no more than 50 days after the day you file your case. The hearing will be in a meeting room, often in a federal building. The meeting will not be a courtroom, nor will a judge preside over the meeting.
What to Bring to the Meeting of Creditors
You must bring photo identification and proof of your Social Security number to the meeting. If you do not have these things, trustee will not hold the meeting, and you will have to come back to a rescheduled meeting with the proper documentation.
What to Expect at Your Chapter 13 Meeting of Creditors
When the Chapter 13 trustee calls your case, you will sit at a table with your attorney so the trustee can question you. If any of your creditors or their attorneys are in attendance, they will sit at the table with you. Your trustee will question you first.
The trustees questions will vary depending on the local rules of your bankruptcy court and the trustee's own custom. Typical topics of questioning include:
- the accuracy of your income and expenses listed on your Schedule I and Schedule J
- whether you have dependents
- whether you are married, divorced, separated or single
- whether you owe child support, alimony or any other domestic support
- the stability of your job
- the steadiness of your income
- the sources of your income, such as wages, child support, alimony, Social Security, unemployment, workers' compensation, business income, and retirement income
- the accuracy of the debt information in your schedules, such as whether the balances due are accurate
- the value of your property
- the reasonableness of your expenses - whether all the expenses listed on your Schedule J are reasonable and necessary for the maintenance and support of you and your dependents, and
- whether you have begun making your payments pursuant to your proposed plan.
Want to learn more? Check out our bankruptcy resource center.
Questioning by Your Creditors
Once the trustee has finished questioning you, any of your creditors that have appeared will ask you questions about how you intend to treat the debt you owe them in the plan. Creditors appearing at the 341 Meeting in a Chapter 13 case is uncommon; typically, they simply file objections to your plan and try to resolve those with you through your attorney and the court. However, they are entitled to appear at the meeting if they choose to do so.
Ending the Meeting and Follow-Up
Once the trustee and creditors have finished asking you questions, the trustee will conclude the meeting. The trustee may continue the hearing at a later date if:
- the trustee needs more information
- you were missing documents, or
- the trustee requests that you amend your paperwork.
To learn more about the role of the bankruptcy trustee in Chapter 13, see The Role of the Bankruptcy Trustee in a Chapter 13 Case.