The Meeting of Creditors in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Here's what to expect at your meeting of creditors in Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Every person who files a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 case will attend a hearing called the 341 meeting of creditors (also called the 341(a) hearing, 341 meeting, or creditor’s meeting).

The Chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee—the official responsible for administering your Chapter 13 case—will conduct the meeting. Both the trustee and your creditors (if any show up) can ask you questions about:

  • your income, assets, and other financial issues
  • your proposed Chapter 13 plan, and
  • your ability to make the plan payments.

A creditor who needs more information from you might attend the meeting before filing a proof of claim for payment, objecting to your plan, or filing an adversary proceeding (bankruptcy lawsuit).

The Trustee Will Review Your Case Before the 341 Hearing

Before the 341 meeting, your trustee will review the Chapter 13 forms you filed with the court, including your:

  • bankruptcy petition
  • schedules of assets, debts, income, expenses, and financial transactions, and
  • your Chapter 13 plan.

You’ll also forward financial documents to the bankruptcy trustee before the meeting of creditors. The trustee will use the tax returns, paycheck stubs, bank statements, and other documents to verify your disclosures.

The Chapter 13 Meeting: When and Where

In a Chapter 13 case, the trustee will hold the 341 meeting 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—not a courtroom—and a judge won’t be present.

Bring Identification to the Chapter 13 Meeting of Creditors

You must bring photo identification (usually a driver’s license, identification card, or military I.D.) and proof of your Social Security number.

If you don’t have your identification, many trustees will go forward with the meeting and have you bring it on another day—or possibly to their office. Other trustees might reschedule the meeting entirely.

What to Expect at the Chapter 13 Meeting of Creditors

Usually, the trustee will schedule multiple cases during the same hour. Once you arrive, you’ll want to check the order on the case calendar. It will give you an idea about when your case will be called.

The trustee will start the meeting by giving preliminary instructions and calling role. The trustee will take each case in order unless there’s reason to do otherwise, such as an attorney is scheduled to be in more than one hearing, or a debtor is accompanied by a child.

When the trustee calls your case, you’ll sit at the front table, provide your identification for review, and take an oath requiring you to give truthful testimony.

Questioning by the Trustee

The trustee must ask every filer standard questions (learn more about standard bankruptcy questions), but will also ask questions particular to your case. Expect questions about:

  • the accuracy and reasonability of your income and expenses
  • your marital status and dependents
  • whether you owe a support obligation
  • income sources, such as wages, child support, alimony, Social Security, unemployment, workers' compensation, business income, and retirement income
  • the accuracy of your debt information, including balances due
  • the value of your property, and
  • whether you’re making your proposed plan payment.

Most trustees will also review the process for making your Chapter 13 plan payment.

Questioning by Creditors

Most creditors who don’t agree with the proposed payment plan amount would file a plan objection and attempt to resolve the problem before the plan confirmation (approval) hearing. They wouldn’t bother to attend the meeting of creditors.

Showing up at the meeting of creditors might signal that the creditor is there on a fishing expedition—possibly to determine whether it would be fruitful to file an adversary proceeding (bankruptcy lawsuit) claiming bankruptcy fraud.

Concluding the Meeting of Creditors

Once the trustee and creditors have finished asking questions, the trustee will decide whether it’s appropriate to conclude the meeting of creditors. The trustee will likely continue the hearing to a later date if:

  • the trustee needs more information
  • you were missing documents
  • the trustee requests that you amend your paperwork, or
  • a creditor wants to ask additional questions.

You can learn more about what to expect by reading The Role of the Bankruptcy Trustee in a Chapter 13 Case.

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