What happens at a 341(a) meeting?
A 341(a) meeting (also known as the meeting of creditors) is required when you file bankruptcy. Approximately 4 to 6 weeks after you file bankruptcy, you will be required to attend a 341(a) meeting.
In every bankruptcy case, the 341(a) meeting is probably the most stressful event for the debtor. The 341(a) meeting is held by the bankruptcy trustee. The trustee is a lawyer that has been appointed to oversee your case. The trustee reviews your petition and asks you questions regarding your answers.
The 341(a) meeting usually happens in downtown Los Angeles, Woodland Hills, Santa Ana, Riverside, Santa Barbara, Bakersfield, Fresno, etc. depending on where you live. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the hearings have been held via phone. During the meeting anywhere from 20 to 40 people will be in the room with you waiting for their turn. When you enter the office, the trustee will introduce himself to everyone and point out a “Green Bankruptcy Information Sheet” you will be required to read before you are called up.
There are some questions that are usually asked of every debtor. The questions include: “Did you read the green bankruptcy information sheet? Did you read and review your petition before you signed it? Do you want to make any changes to your paperwork? Have you ever filed for bankruptcy before? Did you list all of your assets and debts? Is your employer information correctly stated on your bankruptcy petition? Do you owe any domestic support obligations? Have you sold, given away, or transferred any property in the last 4 years?” etc. The meeting usually lasts for 5 minutes, and sometimes even less. However, in some cases the meeting can go longer…if there is an issue with your petition or if a creditor shows up to question you. A creditor showing up at a 341(a) meeting is very rare.
A Bankruptcy Lawyer can ensure your 341(a) meeting goes smoothly
A 341(a) meeting should be harmless, if your bankruptcy petition was prepared properly. This is why it is important to hire a bankruptcy lawyer to prepare your bankruptcy and to represent you at the 341(a) meeting. Even though in most cases the meeting is short and to the point, in some cases issues do arise and that is when having a bankruptcy lawyer with you will pay off.