The 341 meeting of creditors is the date where you, as the debtor, will appear alongside your North Barrington bankruptcy attorney in front of the United States bankruptcy trustee under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code. The purpose of the 341 meeting of creditors is to allow the trustee to examine you under oath relative to the schedules that were filed on your behalf. The trustee is going to ask you to state your name, did you sign the documents, did you list all your assets and all your liabilities, have you given away or sold anything for less than its fair market value in the last year, do you expect to inherit any money in the next six months. These are the types of questions that the Chapter 7 panel trustee is going to ask you because his job in the bankruptcy process is to administer any non-exempt assets for the benefit of creditors.
As you may know, in 99 percent of all Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings, there is no asset to be administered for the benefit of creditors. The trustee basically has to do his due diligence and make sure that you do not have any assets that can be administered or that you don’t have any claims for personal injury that are pending and that you don’t have anybody who owes you money that the trustee can jump in your shoes and go after.
The meeting in front of the trustee lasts approximately between 5 and 10 minutes and you may wait for a half hour to an hour for your case to be called. Your bankruptcy lawyer will be with you at the meeting so you have nothing to fear.
Creditors do have an opportunity to appear at this meeting and question you under oath for a limited basis. Most creditors will not appear at the 341 meeting of creditors and they will allow the panel trustee to do his job to see if there are any assets.
If a particular creditor wants to do an extensive examination of you as the debtor, that creditor can bring a motion to allow a 2004 exam. A 2004 exam is a separate examination of the debtor under oath, which can last for an hour or two. The 2004 exam is a way for the creditor to determine whether or not there are any assets and, too, whether or not they have the right to bring an objection to your discharge by filing an adversary complaint within the bankruptcy case.