If you don’t attend your bankruptcy meeting of creditors (also called the 341 hearing) at its scheduled time, the bankruptcy trustee will normally dismiss your case. If you can’t make your meeting of creditors, notify the trustee immediately. Whether your hearing will be rescheduled depends on your reason for missing it as well as your trustee. Read on to learn more about what to do if you can’t attend your meeting of creditors.
The Trustee Will Typically Dismiss Your Case If You Miss Your Meeting of Creditors
Except in rare circumstances, your attendance at the meeting of creditors is mandatory. Bankruptcy trustees have busy calendars and do not like to reschedule hearings. As a result, if you miss your hearing, the trustee will normally dismiss your bankruptcy case.
(Learn more about the bankruptcy trustee.)
Circumstances Justifying Rescheduling Your Meeting of Creditors
Generally, only a few reasons justify not attending your meeting of creditors. The following are the most common reasons you may be allowed to reschedule your hearing or not appear in person (the trustee may agree to examine you telephonically):
- medical or family emergency
- serious medical condition
- active military service, or
- another compelling reason.
Notify the Trustee Immediately
If you will not be able to attend your meeting of creditors, notify the trustee immediately. If you have a reason that justifies rescheduling your hearing or allowing you to appear telephonically, your trustee will usually inform you of your new hearing date and any other procedures you need to follow. If your reason does not automatically justify rescheduling your hearing, whether your case will be dismissed depends on your trustee.
Your Trustee May Allow You to Reschedule Your Meeting of Creditors
Most debtors miss their meeting of creditors because of conflicts with their work or travel schedule. Unfortunately, these do not justify rescheduling your hearing. However, your trustee may still agree to continue your hearing to another date.
As a result, it is usually in your best interest to notify your trustee immediately to give him or her as much time as possible to reschedule your hearing. But keep in mind that your trustee may still inform you that he or she will dismiss your case if you don’t appear at the meeting creditors.
If your case is dismissed, you can usually refile immediately. However, if you refile within one year of your dismissal, the automatic stay in your new case will only last 30 days and you will need to file a motion to extend it before it expires. (To learn more, see Losing the Automatic Stay When You Refile for Bankruptcy.)