When you file for bankruptcy in New York, one of the conditions of a future discharge is that you attend a meeting of creditors known as the 341 hearing, named after a section of the Bankruptcy Code. Your trustee will attend and ask you a series of questions. Although creditors are allowed to attend, none usually do. As a result, 341 meetings rarely last more than five or ten minutes.

Prior to the meeting, the trustee will thoroughly review your bankruptcy paperwork. This includes your income, debts, and expenses as well as your Statement of Financial Affairs, pay stubs, and tax returns from previous years.

How to prepare for your meeting of creditors

Prior to the meeting, you will have to assemble the following documentation, so you can bring it with you

  • State-issued photo identification, driver’s license or passport
  • Social Security card

Your trustee may have their own requirements regarding what documentation you need to bring. If so, then they will notify you directly if you don’t have an attorney.

A typical meeting

341 meetings are typically held in a meeting room, not a courtroom. When the trustee calls your case, you will sit at a table with your attorney (if applicable) and answer questions like the following:

  • Are you married, single, or divorced?
  • Why are you declaring bankruptcy?
  • Do you have dependents?
  • Do you owe child support or alimony?
  • Have you made any large payments to creditors recently?
  • Have you transferred property to anyone else during the past year?
  • Are you expecting any tax refunds, inheritances, or life insurance payouts?
  • How did you come up with the value for your house/car/other big-ticket items?
  • Does anyone owe you money?

If you are filing for Chapter 7, for example, then the trustee will want to determine if you have non-exempt property that can be sold to satisfy creditor claims, or transferred assets that they must reclaim. At this time, they are acting on behalf of your unsecured creditors and seeking to confirm that your schedules are an accurate reflection of what your property is worth.

Occasionally creditor representatives will appear to determine whether you filed for bankruptcy in good faith. If you maxed out your credit cards prior to filing, for example, then the credit card issuers may send an attorney or another representative to question you about these charges.

After the meeting

Once all questions have been answered, the trustee will conclude the meeting. Sometimes they will continue the session if documents are missing or more information is needed, but this is comparatively rare.

If you have questions about the meeting of creditors, then be sure to bring them up with your New York bankruptcy attorney, who can help you prepare. The 341 meeting is practically routine and will bring you one step closer to your eventual discharge. Set up a free initial in-person consultation with Bronx lawyer Jayson Lutzky to get on your way to a fresh financial start. Mr. Lutzky has helped many clients file Chapter 7 personal bankruptcies. Learn more about your legal rights by calling 718-514-6619 or visiting www.MyNewYorkCityLawyer.com/Bankruptcy.