What to expect at the 341 meeting of creditors?
Everyone that files chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy is required to attend a meeting known as the 341 meeting of creditors. It used the numbers "341" because it is found in section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code. In and around Houston, all the 341 meetings are held in the same location, which is 515 Rusk Street, 3rd floor, Suite 3401, downtown Houston. This is the Bob Casey Federal Courthouse. However, despite this being a federal court building, the 341 meeting is not held in a courtroom. It is not held in front of a judge or jury. The meeting is held in a conference room. There are 4 different room where the meeting can be held, all in the same floor, in the same suite. There are couches where everyone waits to be called for their meeting. You must bring your social security card and driver's license to the meeting.
Make sure to arrive to the meeting 15 minutes early, due to you being in a new building in downtown.
If you are a chapter 7 debtor, the meeting is conducted by a chapter 7 trustee. If you are a chapter 13 debtor, the meeting is conducted by a chapter 13 trustee. Despite it being called meeting of creditors, for chapter 7 and chapter 13 cases, creditors rarely attend. When you are called your name, you and your attorney walk into the room and sit across a conference table with the trustee. The trustee verifies your drivers license and social security card. The trustee places you under oath, where you swear to tell the truth under penalty of perjury, perjury is a felony.
Therefore you should not lie during your entire bankruptcy process. You should not lie to your attorney in preparing the case, and you should not lie any step of the way during your bankruptcy.
There is no reason to be nervous. You will be asked about your bankruptcy case, for example, if all the information contained in the case is true and correct. The trustee will review your case and might ask you or your attorney for some changes to be made. The trustee will have further questions depending on your case, sometimes regarding assets, or income, or expenses, and any part of your situation that led to the bankruptcy. Your attorney will be present. Rest assured, the meeting many times lasts 5 minutes or less because the trustee has reviewed your case prior to the meeting. Many times, waiting in the waiting room takes longer than the meeting itself. Once the meeting is concluded,you are free to leave. If your lawyer needs you for anything he or she will contact you later.
If you have not done so, it is a good idea to sign any reaffirmation agreements while you are there, and you should also remember to take the second class, the financial management course, or sometimes called debtor education course after the meeting. You can do this course online in the comfort of your home.