A Clarendon Hills bankruptcy attorney discusses the court date for debtors. The 341 meeting of creditors is a meeting required under the United States Bankruptcy Code Section 341, where the debtor has to appear before a panel (trustee) to answer questions under oath. The questions that the trustee is going to ask deal with the petition and schedules that were filed in the case. The trustee’s duty is to examine the debtor to determine whether or not there are any assets that could be administered for the benefit of creditors. In the overwhelming majority of Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases filed by a bankruptcy lawyer, there are no assets that could be administered by creditors. If clients do have assets, they are typically exempt, and any un-exempt portion is usually so small that it is not worth the trustee’s time to administer. The trustee is going to swear the debtor in under oath and ask a series of questions. The first question is going to be to state your name and address. The trustee will then ask if you signed the documents under oath and if that is your signature. The trustee will then inquire as to your assets, your liabilities, your income, and your expenses. The trustee will also inquire as to your statement of financial affairs, where you disclosed what you earned in the prior three years, whether or not you closed a bank account in the last year, whether or not you have a safety deposit box, whether or not you have lived at your current address for the last three years, and whether or not you have engaged in any course of business in the last four years. If the trustee is satisfied with your answers, he or she may conclude the meeting and make a finding of no assets. A finding of no assets is the typical finding when you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy. It basically states that there is nothing to administer and that the trustee is going to be recommending that the case be closed and discharged.
After the 341 meeting of creditors, there is approximately a two-month waiting period before a discharge can be entered. This two-month period is known as the claims objection period. If a creditor files an objection to the discharge or an objection to a particular debt within that time period, we will receive a notice, and it will be litigated. If there is no objection, then the case will close and a discharge will be entered. That will be the end of the bankruptcy process.