Many individuals who visit a bankruptcy law firm in California fear attending court as a step towards filing Chapter 7. The 341 meeting of the creditors is usually the one and only court appearance individuals filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy must attend. Additionally, the 341-meeting experience is typically a less stressful court appearance than a debtor anticipates.
How the 341 Meeting is Different from Regular Court
In civil court, a plaintiff files a complaint with the court system about a defendant, and thus, is an adversarial meeting in court by design. A 341 meeting of creditors isn't always the same, however. While you are filing for protection from your creditors, they rarely, if ever, show up to this meeting. Many individuals worry unnecessarily about this meeting, but as long as you show up on time, answer the question politely, and are honest, the meeting will be a breeze and you'll walk out in good shape.
The Actual 341 Meeting Experience
At the meeting of creditors, you'll be sworn in under oath and then meet with the bankruptcy trustee. The bankruptcy trustee will ask you a series of questions, all pertaining to your bankruptcy filing. They are typically 15-30 minutes long and as aforementioned, you won't meet directly with your creditors in most circumstances. Credit card companies and hospitals don't have the time to attend a court hearing in most cases, and there is no reason for them too. Creditors are given 60 days to respond to the notice they will receive after the meeting.
Purpose of 341 Meeting of Creditors
The purpose of the 341 meeting of creditors is to answer questions about your Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing under oath, to ensure that all creditors, assets, debts, and income are properly stated in your bankruptcy papers and that you aren't trying to hide money or assets. If you had your Sacramento bankruptcy attorney assist you with the bankruptcy paperwork, you should know all the questions you can expect from the bankruptcy trustee. Additionally, your Sacramento bankruptcy attorney will typically accompany you to the meeting, which should give you some relief in knowing you have counsel to represent you and your legal rights to debt relief.