When you decide to seek bankruptcy protection, there are certain responsibilities for you to fulfill. 

Whether you file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, one of those responsibilities is to attend the 341 Meeting. 

What this is 

The 341 Meeting derives its name from Section 341 of the United States Bankruptcy Code, a section that sets forth the requirements for the initial meeting of debtors and creditors. The meeting will take place outside of court and no judge will be present. Creditors will receive notice of date and time, but they rarely attend because they do not waive any of their rights relative to your bankruptcy due to their absence. 

Who you will meet 

If you file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, you will meet the trustee from the Office of the U.S. Trustee assigned to administer your case. The trustee will conduct the meeting and ask questions that you must answer honestly under penalty of perjury. The questions will pertain to your financial circumstances so that the trustee can manage your case efficiently. The trustee will also ensure that you have a thorough understanding of the bankruptcy process from both positive and negative viewpoints. 

How to prepare 

Your attorney will accompany you to the 341 meeting and provide any documents the trustee needs. These will include items like your bank statements, tax returns, pay stubs, car titles and property deeds. You will only need to bring government-issued identification, such as your driver’s license, and proof of your Social Security number. Make sure you have these with you; if you forget to bring them, the trustee must reschedule the meeting. 

Why it matters 

Bankruptcy is probably new territory for you, and you will no doubt have many questions. You can rely on legal guidance to help you navigate the process. Keep in mind that if you do not appear at the 341 Meeting, the trustee could have your bankruptcy case dismissed. As long as you fulfill your responsibilities, such as attending this meeting, you can look forward to a bright financial future.