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Dealing with the meeting of creditors

Whether you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you'll likely face the meeting of creditors, which is also called the 341 meeting. For many people, this sounds like a frightening meeting where creditors will be there to bully you; it sounds especially disheartening if you've turned to bankruptcy in part to stop creditor aggression and harassment. The truth is, the 341 meeting is usually short and to the point with little to be anxious about.

Most 341 meetings work as follows. You arrive and present any identification that is required; typically a picture ID and Social Security card. You meet your attorney there, and you wait until the trustee calls your case. The 341 meetings usually occur in a room where other creditors are also waiting to meet with the trustee.

The trustee records the meeting for record-keeping purposes, and you are sworn in. That means you are required to tell the truth as you know it; the trustee probably also asks you if you filed bankruptcy willingly and if all the information in your bankruptcy petition is accurate as far as you know. Other questions the trustee might ask are about whether you will affirm any debt, and he or she might have questions related to your bankruptcy paperwork if anything is confusing. If you worked with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer to file the petition, these questions are usually minimal.

Much of the time, creditors do not even show up to these meetings. They might show up if they believe you have falsified information in your petition, but usually creditors handle bankruptcy issues by filing documents rather than showing up at the 341 meeting. Even if they do show up -- which is in a very small amount of cases -- they can't harass you; they can only ask certain questions about the information in your petition.

Source: Dave Ramsey, "What Is a 341 Meeting?," accessed March 03, 2017

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