Preparing for Your Chapter “341” Meeting of Creditors
The Bankruptcy Laws require that all Chapter 7 debtors must attend something called a “Meeting of Creditors.” This meeting is also called a “341 hearing” because Section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code describes who must attend and what happens.
Your 341 hearing is an informal meeting held in small room located in or near the Federal Courthouse. In Atlanta, 341 hearings are held on the 3rd floor of the Russell Federal Building located at 75 Spring Street in downtown Atlanta.
No judge is present at your 341 hearing and most of these hearings take no more than 10 minutes. Your hearing will be run by the Chapter 7 trustee in your case. Since this is a meeting of creditors, some of your creditors may choose to attend, but usually no more than two or three creditors actually show up.
Understanding the Big Picture About Your 341 Hearing
At your 341 question, your Chapter 7 trustee will ask you questions and verify that all required information and documentation has been filed in your case. Creditors who attend may also ask you questions. You can read more about the specific questions that may arise during your Chapter 7 341 hearing by clicking on the link.
Remember - your Chapter trustee is most interested in finding non-exempt assets that he can sell so that there will be money to distribute to creditors. The Chapter 7 trustee may also ask questions about your income and expenses to determine whether you should be in a Chapter 13 repayment plan. If you have no non-exempt assets and your income is modest, the Chapter 7 trustee will not spend a lot of time with your case.
At Clark & Washington, we will make every effort to make your Chapter 7 341 experience quick and easy. Because we file cases regularly, there is a good chance that one of our staff attorneys will already be there when arrive. You should therefore go directly to the Room number set out on the Notice of Commencement of Case that you received in the mail. Your Clark & Washington lawyer will look for you and meet with you briefly prior to your hearing.
What to Bring to Your 341 Hearing
Please make every effort to arrive 20 to 30 minutes early as traffic around the courthouse can be unpredictable and there may a line to get through security. If you are late, your case may be reset and you will have to take the time to come back in a week or 10 days.
Please also do not forget to bring proof of ID - both a picture ID (such as a driver’s license) and proof of your Social Security number (preferably a Social Security card). If you do not have both forms of ID, the trustee will not hold your case and you will have to come back. If you are not sure about whether your ID will be accepted or if you have lost one or both types of ID, please call our office at 404-522-2222 right now and we will figure out a solution to the ID problem.
You should also review your copy of the Chapter 7 schedules filed in your case. In particular, take a look at Schedules I & J (your budget). If you see any obvious errors or have any questions, please ask your Clark & Washington attorney prior to your hearing.
Finally, remember that your Chapter 7 341 hearing is not a final hearing or a one-time only decision about the status of your case. If you cannot answer the trustee’s questions or if something unexpected happens, we will have plenty of time to clarify, fix or delete most problems.