341 Hearing – What Is It?

In every bankruptcy there is a mandatory hearing called the “341” Meeting of Creditors. This creditor’s meeting serves two key functions. The first is to allow the debtor under oath to speak to the veracity (truthfulness) of their petition. The second is to allow creditors, if they desire, to ask questions of the debtor. It is an exceedingly rare event that a creditor shows up at either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 “341” Hearing. There is simply very little legally that can be done at these hearings on behalf of the creditor.

In most instances, clients will be asked to attend their “341” Hearing 10-15 minutes prior to their scheduled meeting time. This allows the debtor’s counsel to go through a few pieces of necessary paperwork required for the hearing. It also allows the debtors to observe a hearing or two prior to their own. The ability to experience a hearing or two prior to your own should instill a sense of calm and trust in the system. The trustees conducting these hearings are not out to get the debtors. They are simply there to ask the questions that are statutorily required to ask in every case and investigate where warranted.

In most instances, a hearing begins with the trustee asking the debtor to state their name and address for the record. After that, the trustee will go through a series of questions in order to establish the veracity of the debtor and of the petition before the Court.

Questions include:

  • Have you read the petition and the schedules and statements before you?
  • Are they a complete and accurate listing of your assets and liabilities?
  • Are there any changes that you are aware that either need to be made or that you wish to make to your petition at this time?
  • Often debtors will verify their employer’s address.
  • They will also be asked if they owe a DSO or a domestic support obligation.
  • Debtors will be asked if they have transferred any property in excess of $1,000.00 in the 2 years preceding the filing.
  • They will also be asked if they have sold any real estate in the 4 years prior to filing.

In some instance, trustees need more paperwork than initially supplied to their office at the filing. The hearing is a wonderful time on behalf of the trustee and the debtor’s counsel to go through and resolve this new need for information. If the trustee needs additional pay stubs, taxes or other such documents, they can enter into an agreement with the debtor to have these documents mailed to the trustee’s office in a reasonable amount of time. The document that is signed in order to comply with this request is called a stipulation.

Your counsel will be present with you at the hearing and as such will read any and all stipulations signed by the debtor in the presence of the trustee. There is simply no reason for the debtor to experience anxiety or worry over having to attend the Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 “341” Hearing. That being said, I fully understand and appreciate that there is nothing that we can write on this web page that will entirely alleviate the fear of walking into a federal court for the first time.

If you still have anxiety over the prospect of conducting this hearing, I strongly encourage anyone considering filing to go to the court house and attend a few. These are public hearings and as such anyone who wishes, can observe them. They are located at the U.S. Customs House at 721 19th Street. The hearings take place on the first floor in room 125. As long as those in attendance are quiet and do not disrupt the proceedings, most trustees have no issue with others observing these proceedings.

If you have specific concerns related to your situation or your case regarding your “341” Hearing, I encourage you to call Morse Law at (303) 300-6684 and discuss these concerns. If you already have a consultation scheduled, I encourage you to bring up these concerns at the consultation so that the attorney can specifically address those concerns related to your “341” Hearing with you face to face.

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