What is a Bankruptcy 341 Meeting?
After you file your bankruptcy case, you and your attorney will meet with another attorney, called a “Bankruptcy Trustee”. The meeting is called a “341 meeting” because Section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code states that everyone that files bankruptcy has to be available to meet with their creditors at least once. The person filing bankruptcy must attend, and his/her lawyer attends with them. However, no creditors have to attend. Even if the creditors do attend or do not attend, the debts are discharged and that discharge occurs around 65 days after the bankruptcy case is filed. At the meeting, the bankruptcy trustee reviews your bankruptcy paperwork and asks you questions. I give my clients a list of the typical questions that the Trustee asks before they meet with the Trustee so that they are not surprised by any of his questions and are prepared to answer truthfully.
The Debtor’s attendance is mandatory and he/she is put under oath before the questions are asked. Therefore, it is very important to be truthful in your answers.
Although this meeting is usually at a courthouse, the Bankruptcy Judge is prohibited by law from attending. And is it just a meeting? The typical Section 341 meeting lasts about five minutes. It’s very rare for a 341 meeting to extend past 10 minutes; most often, they’re over in less than five minutes. In fact, it’s not at all uncommon for not a single creditor to even attend.
After the 341 Meeting
After the 341 meeting, you should receive a discharge from your debts in about 65 days. Rarely there are problems in your case. If there are problems or issues at your Section 341 meeting, you should discuss them directly with your attorney. However, if you use an experienced bankruptcy lawyer to file your bankruptcy case, your case should proceed smoothly and your discharge should be received months after your 341 meeting is concluded.
If you’ve decided to reaffirm any of your debts, I will discuss any reaffirmation agreements that your creditors send to me at your 341 meeting before I meet with the Trustee. Also, keep in mind, too, that if there were any debts not dischargeable under bankruptcy, such as child support, student loans, DWIss, and some taxes, you will need to continue to pay those debts.
Also, before your Section 341 meeting, you will be required to attend a Debtor Education Class. I have all of my clients fulfill this requirement by watching a wonderfully entertaining DVD (which is also available over the internet) by Dave Ramsey. Dave has filed a bankruptcy case himself and gives my clients wonderful insights on how to recover financially and emotionally from a bankruptcy filing. All of my clients rave that Dave’s thoughts and insights are wonderful and a real help as they start on their financial fresh start.
I will meet with you and your spouse for two or three hours before your case is filed and go over each page of your bankruptcy filing with you to make sure each page is perfect. I will arrive at the courthouse before your 341 meeting and I will be available to discuss any issues in your case and prepare you for the meeting. I will attend the meeting with you, sit right beside you, and help you with any questions that may arise during the meeting. If they are any problems, I will handle them for you.
Many lawyers have paralegals prepare the documents and file them and the lawyers meet the clients for the first time at the courthouse. This does not occur at my law firm! I will know you and you will know me before your case is filed and I will be with you throughout the entire process. I have been practicing exclusively bankruptcy law in Texas for over 30 years and I believe I am very qualified to ensure that your paperwork is filed correctly and your Section 341 meeting proceeds smoothly.
For more than thirty years, I’ve guided my clients through the bankruptcy process so that they could start anew with their finances. I know the sense of relief that comes with no longer worrying about creditors and debts that simply can’t be repaid. I’ve seen my clients once again look to the future without the fear and I’ve seen their families thrive because of it. If you’d like to learn more about bankruptcy protection, contact my office today. My team of compassionate and experienced paralegals will schedule a free initial consultation so that you can learn more about bankruptcy protections that are available for you and your family. Knowing the facts empowers you and you can then make the best decision for you and your family.