What Happens After Your Meeting of Creditors?

Find out what happens in your bankruptcy case when your meeting of creditors is over.

By , Attorney

Everyone who files for Chapters 7 and 13 must attend a hearing called the 341 meeting of creditors. Here's what happens after the initial meeting of creditors:

  • If the trustee or a creditor needs documents or more questions answered, the trustee will continue the meeting to another day.
  • If the trustee and creditors are satisfied, the trustee will conclude the creditors' meeting.

What happens after the trustee concludes the meeting will depend on whether it's a Chapter 7 or 13 case.

  • In Chapter 7, you'll file your debtor education certificate and wait for your discharge.
  • In Chapter 13, you'll go to a repayment confirmation hearing, and if the court "confirms" or approves your plan, you'll make the required payments over three to five years.

Learn more about what to expect during Chapter 7 and tips for surviving Chapter 13 bankruptcy.



What Happens at the End of Your 341 Meeting of Creditors?

The 341 hearing is similar in Chapters 7 and 13. The bankruptcy trustee, the person who manages your case, usually concludes or ends the hearing the same day you appear. However, that's not always the case.

Why Would the Trustee Continue the 341 Meeting of Creditors?

If the trustee continues your 341 meeting of creditors to a different date, it will likely be for one of these reasons:

  • You forgot to bring identification, such as proof of your Social Security number (this problem arises at in-person rather than virtual hearings).
  • The trustee needs more financial documentation to verify the information in your petition.
  • The trustee plans to inventory your home, business, storage space, or safe deposit box.
  • A creditor needs more time to question you about one of your obligations.

If the trustee continues your hearing for documentation, it's a good idea to provide the trustee with the requested information before your next hearing. If you send the documents promptly and the trustee has no further questions, the trustee might cancel the continued hearing and let you know that you don't need to appear.

The bankruptcy trustee will conclude your 341 meeting of creditors when the trustee has no further questions, is satisfied with your supporting documentation, and has given creditors a reasonable amount of time to ask questions. You won't need to appear before the bankruptcy trustee at another hearing.

What Is the Next Step After the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy 341 Meeting of Creditors?

You won't immediately receive your Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge. You'll need to meet two additional requirements.

  • Passing the creditor objection date. Your creditors have 60 days from the date of your initial meeting of creditors to object to your discharge. If a creditor objects, the bankruptcy court must review the facts and decide the outcome.
  • Completing the debtor education requirement. After you file your Chapter 7 case, you'll need to take the second bankruptcy class, a debtor education course. The court will close your matter without issuing a discharge if you don't file the certificate. You'll have to pay another filing fee to reopen the case and file the certificate.

If no creditors object and you've filed your certificate of debtor education, then you'll receive your discharge after the deadline for filing objections passes.

The bankruptcy court closes the case a few days later in most instances. However, the case might remain open longer if the trustee needs more time to sell property or the bankruptcy court hasn't resolved an issue unrelated to your discharge.

After the 341 Meeting in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 filers have a lot more to do after the trustee concludes the 341 meeting of creditors. If the bankruptcy court approves your proposed plan, you'll complete the payments and comply with other requirements.

What Happens If Someone Objects to Your Chapter 13 Plan?

When you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you're responsible for filing a proposed repayment plan that spells out the amount you'll pay each creditor. Because you'll file it before the creditors' meeting, if the trustee sees a problem, it will likely be brought up at the creditors' meeting. Many times such issues get resolved informally.

If the trustee believes your Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan isn't feasible, the trustee will typically ask the judge to dismiss your case. The trustee does this by filing a motion with the court. A creditor can file a dismissal motion, too—usually because a creditor is legally entitled to more than what you're offering in the plan.

If you can resolve the problem, you'll explain the steps taken in the motion opposition paperwork that you'll file before your confirmation hearing—the hearing at which the judge decides whether your Chapter 13 case can go forward.

The trustee or creditor will often agree to appropriate changes and withdraw the motion. If someone still objects to your plan, you'll need to explain why your plan should be confirmed to the judge.

What Happens at the Chapter 13 Confirmation Hearing?

You or your lawyer should plan to appear at a confirmation hearing. At the confirmation hearing, the judge will consider filings, listen to arguments, and decide whether your plan should be "confirmed" or approved.

The judge must approve any agreements or stipulations to resolve objections to your plan, and decide any disputes that can't be worked out. The judge might take evidence, if necessary.

Confirmation hearings rarely take longer than 30 minutes but could last up to a day in complicated matters.

What You'll Do After the Chapter 13 Confirmation Hearing

If your case is confirmed, you'll continue making the monthly payments you started paying about a month after filing your matter. Depending on the Chapter 13 confirmation hearing's outcome, the bankruptcy judge might adjust the payment amount at the confirmation hearing. If the judge doesn't confirm the plan and doesn't give you additional time to revise it, the trustee will return your payments, with some exceptions.

If the court confirms your plan, you'll receive your discharge after completing your three- to five-year plan and the debtor education course. You might also need to report the status of support payments and other issues on local forms.

Need More Bankruptcy Help?

Did you know Nolo has been making the law easy for over fifty years? It's true—and we want to make sure you find what you need. Below you'll find more articles explaining how bankruptcy works. And don't forget that our bankruptcy homepage is the best place to start if you have other questions!

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Helpful Bankruptcy Sites

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We wholeheartedly encourage research and learning, but online articles can't address all bankruptcy issues or the facts of your case. The best way to protect your assets in bankruptcy is by hiring a local bankruptcy lawyer.

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