A Personal Account of a Meeting of Creditors for Bankruptcy
Attendance at a Meeting of Creditors, or 341 Creditors Meeting, is mandatory when someone files for bankruptcy. During this court hearing, the court-appointed trustee reviews your assets and liabilities while you are under oath to answer any questions about your personal property and all debts. Creditors are sometimes in attendance as well. You will need to attend this meeting when you file for bankruptcy.
Below is my personal account of the Meeting of Creditors. Hopefully my experience will help those who are a bit anxious, worried, nervous or curious about this part of the personal bankruptcy process. To ease any worries right off the bat, I’ll start off by saying that it was fast, straight to the point and surprisingly easy to complete.
When I filed my bankruptcy paperwork I was given a date requiring me to return to bankruptcy court within 60 days to attend a Meeting of Creditors. I did not file with a lawyer, so I didn’t really know what to expect. I happened to get an afternoon appointment during the middle of the week.
When I arrived, the waiting room wasn’t busy at all. I went in and sat down along with other people who were waiting for their meeting of creditors. There were two lists of names on opposite doors of the waiting room. One list had names for Court Room A and the other list was for Court Room B. I reviewed the names on each list and found my name under the Court Room A list. Exactly at the time of my appointment, the court trustee came into the waiting room and announced that the meeting of creditors was about to begin for those whose names were on the Court Room A list.
I got up and entered the court room with 7 other people, some who had lawyers with them. There were 30-40 chairs in the room and we all sat down in various places. The trustee introduced himself and told us that he would be recording the entire meeting of creditors. He then grabbed a file and called the first person to sit in the seat next to him. The person gave an oath and the trustee stated a few court terms for recording purposes. He asked a list of required court questions, asked a personal question about the person’s property and then dismissed the person. The person then left the court room. Then he called the next person who filed a bankruptcy and the same thing occurred, except that he did not ask any personal questions before dismissal.
My name was then called. I arose from my seat and sat down in the hearing chair across from the trustee. I took the oath and answered the series of required questions. The trustee asked me a personal question about my paid off vehicle and gave me my options about keeping it or turning it over to the creditors for bankruptcy. He then dismissed me, told me I’d receive discharge papers in the mail within another 30-60 days and I walked out of the court room.
I wasn't in the court room for more than 7 minutes. I couldn’t believe how quickly and painlessly everything went! I had waited nervously and anxiously during the 60 day wait period because of my assumptions on how the meeting of creditors would be. There weren’t any creditors in attendance at the 341 meeting for any of the people who filed bankruptcy. I’m sure it happens sometimes, but those of us who were in that court room didn’t have to worry about any creditor questioning our bankruptcy filing.
This is how my meeting of creditors went. I’m sure it can vary depending on the state, the type of bankruptcy and any other laws or rules that are requirements. Be sure to speak with a lawyer if you have any questions about the process. If, like me, you don't have that many personal assets, you might want to file bankruptcy without a lawyer. Hopefully your meeting of creditors will go as smoothly as mine did. Good luck!