For Your Reference
What Can You Expect At The 341 Hearing?
For the vast majority of bankruptcy filers (Chapter 7 and Chapter 13), the Meeting of Creditors (“341”), which is scheduled one month after you file, is the only contact you will have with the court.
With Covid-19, the 341 meetings are now held via teleconferencing. However, under normal circumstances, all bankruptcy filers will have to appear in court.
During the 341 trustee and creditors are allowed to ask you questions, under oath, concerning your case. Here are some of the most common questions that you may be asked by your assigned bankruptcy trustee:
- Did you sign the bankruptcy petition that you filed?
- Are the taxes that you supplied the court an exact copy of the taxes that you filed with the IRS?
- Are all of your assets listed on the bankruptcy petition that you filed?
- Have you ever filed for bankruptcy before?
- Do you have any personal injury cases that are open?
- Why did you decide to file bankruptcy?
- Is anything missing or incorrect that the court should know about?
Creditors are also allowed to show up and ask you questions concerning your filing. However, as bankruptcy laws are straight forward, creditors rarely show up as it would be a waste of time and money for the creditors.
How Long Does the 341 Last?
The 341 meeting itself only lasts around two minutes (Depending on how busy it is though you may have to wait for an hour or more to be seen) for a chapter 7 and five minutes for chapter 13.
Trustee’s Do Not Care About You
My above statement sounds harsh, and I am joking to an extent. Of course, Trustees are human; so, they do have their own biases and also have situations where they tend to have more sympathy for a debtor. However, a trustee is bound by the bankruptcy statute. So, if your bankruptcy case is correctly filed, a trustee cannot deny you a discharge. Also, Trustees have dozens of cases assigned to them each month, and bankruptcy laws are straight forward in that they favor a debtor getting a fresh start. Therefore, the 341 meeting will be non-eventful, as long as you are honest, follow directions, and supply the court with needed paperwork.
The Trustee wants to have the 341 meeting be completed at your first meeting; so, you can get your discharge. The only time the Trustees are against you is when they feel you are hiding something or wasting their time. For example, Trustees tend to lose patience when they ask you multiple times for paperwork, like tax returns.
The following background concerning how Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 trustees get paid should help put you at ease is you are still nervous about your 341 meeting .
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustee Compensation
A 7 trustee gets paid $60 for each case that they are assigned. The only time they would get more than $60 would be that a trustee would receive a percentage of the value of non-exempt assets that are liquidated, and the proceeds of the liquidation are given to your creditors.
Nevada has very generous exemptions. As a result, Chapter 7 filers will most likely be able to file bankruptcy and keep all of their property. Trustees realize this and as a result, if they feel that you are a “Non-Asset case” they will want you finished; so, they can work on other cases that may be more profitible fo rthem. Therefore, as long as you provide paperwork and follow the bankruptcy procedures, the 341 will be done quickly, and you’ll receive a discharge approximately two months after the 341.
The only time you will likely have an issue is if a trustee feels that you are hiding assets or you are not timely supply needed documents.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee
Chapter 13 requires you to make payments to a trustee for three to five years, whereby those payments are distributed to creditors who file a proof of claim. Your monthly payments are based upon your income minus allowable expenses.
The Chapter 13 trustee, once the plan is approved, receives a percentage of each of those payments. Therefore, the 13 Trustee has an incentive to have your plan approved and for you to start making payments for three to five years. However, the Trustee also, to keep their job, need to make sure that the bankruptcy laws are following correctly.
So, as long as you are honest and your plan is viable the 13 trustees will work with you; your plan will be approved, and that’ll be likely your last contact with the 13 trustee.
What Happens After The 341 Meeting?
For most debtors, assuming everything went well at the 341, and you completed your financial management credit class, you will receive your discharge approximately two months after you file. Creditors are given a chance to challenge your bankruptcy during those final two months. However, you will likely have known of any problems with your bankruptcy at either before or during the 341.
So, patiently wait for those last two months, and you will soon be granted your discharge, and you can then get your fresh start.