What Happens in the Meeting with the Bankruptcy Trustee? (Part 1)

The meeting with the Trustee is required under Section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code.  It is commonly referred to as either “the 341 meeting” or “the meeting of creditors”.   It’s usually set four to six weeks after the case is filed.  Typically, three or four cases are set during a half hour period.  Therefore, your meeting should last less than 10 minute.

The meeting does not take place in a courtroom.  The Trustee presides over it, and the Judge is not present.  In Dayton, the meetings take place in the Bankruptcy Courthouse, but in a separate office upstairs of the courtrooms.  In Cincinnati, the meetings are held in an office building several blocks away from the Court itself.

The one thing that is sort of unpleasant is that all the debtors scheduled for the same approximate period of time are all together in a room, sitting as kind of an audience.  When your case is called, you and your attorney go up to the table adjoining the Trustee, and therefore, any other debtors waiting their turn can hear your answers to the Trustee’s questions, if they’re paying attention.  Of course, you are hearing their answers as well.  The thing to keep in mind is that all of them are there for the same reason as you, and everybody there is a little nervous.  And, most people aren’t listening!

Generally, your creditors are not present.   They rely on the Trustee to protect their interests at the meeting.  In the past few years, it’s only creditors who have some sort of unusual circumstance that actually appear.  An example might be an ex-spouse who has some unresolved issue with the debtor or has some knowledge that the debtor has concealed assets and wants to expose him.  Occasionally, a secured creditor may show up to find out what the debtor wants to do with the collateral, or to make certain that there’s insurance coverage in place if the debtor is keeping the collateral.

In all instances, you must show a photo Id and an approved proof of your social security number before the meeting can be held.  If you cannot produce both of these, the meeting will be postponed, and you will have to pay the expenses involved in contacting all your creditors, whether or not they appeared at the first setting.

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About Barbara Horwitz

Barbara Horwitz is an experienced bankruptcy attorney helping people get past financial difficulties. She believes in creating a relationship with clients and is dedicated to making the bankruptcy process as easy and stress-free for clients.

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