The Meeting Of Creditors (341 Meeting)

The Meeting of Creditors, also known as the § 341 Meeting, is required by the Bankruptcy Code for each bankruptcy case. It is generally attended by 3 parties; you, your Trustee and your attorneys. The creditors usually do not appear, although one will occasionally show up. Also, a representative of the U.S. Trustee's office may appear on occasion. Your appearance (and ours) is absolutely mandatory!

Who is the Trustee? The Trustee is an officer appointed by the federal government to administer your case. He or she will check your identification and social security card to ensure that you are the proper person and swear you in under oath. He or she will then ask you a series of questions to ensure the accuracy of the information provided to the court in your bankruptcy petition. You will have to testify (answer the questions) on the record (which is a digital recorder) as to the accuracy of the information. You have already answered all of these questions when you met with us. As the great Mike Ditka put it, "Testimony is easy when you're telling the truth." Tell the truth and you will be fine.

Who is the U.S. Trustee? The U.S. Trustee is a representative of the U.S. Department of Justice. They are responsible for ensuring that there is no fraud, criminal activity or unethical conduct going on in the bankruptcy system. They rarely show up at meetings and even more rarely raise any serious issues. If they do appear, don't worry, they do not prosecute the innocent. Besides, that is why we are there with you.

Where do I go? You should have a letter from us and one from the court directing you where to go and at what time. If you do not or if you have lost yours, call us and we will get you another copy. All meetings in Cook County cases are held at 219 S. Dearborn Street in the Dirksen Federal Building on the 8th floor. This is between Adams and Jackson on the East side of Dearborn Street. It is easily accessible to public transportation and parking is expensive, so do not drive unless you have to.

What do I bring with me? The only items you are required to bring is your driver's license or state I.D. card AND your social security card (or verification of social security number if you recently applied for a new card). We will meet you there with a full copy of your petition for you to take home with you.

How long will it take? The meetings themselves generally take about 5 minutes. Be warned, however, that 6 – 8 meetings are scheduled in a ½ hour block, so we don't know exactly when you will be called. Also, and more so lately, the Trustees do fall behind sometimes. It is not uncommon for a two o'clock meeting to be called at three o'clock or even later. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do about this. You do need to be there on time. Please be patient, bring a book and take the afternoon off just to be safe.

What if I cannot make it to the scheduled meeting? The date of the 341 meeting of creditors is issued randomly by the federal bankruptcy court. We have no control over the date or time and your appearance is mandatory. If you are unable to attend the 341 meeting of creditors, call your attorneys in advance and we can request that the Trustee give us a continuance. There is no guarantee that this will be granted, but so long as there is a good reason, it generally will. If you simply fail to appear, we will appear on your behalf and request a continuance, but you will be required to pay additional legal fees for this. If you fail to appear at the continued 341 meeting of creditors, your case will be dismissed by the court. We can appear in court and try and stop the dismissal, but again, there will be additional fees. If successful, yet another meeting date will be set and there will be another $250 fee. Obviously, it is much easier (and a lot cheaper) to make the necessary arrangements to appear at the first meeting.

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Ledford, Wu & Borges, LLC, is an experienced Chapter 7 bankruptcy law firm that has helped over 50,000 people find relief from their debt obligations. Call 312-574-3327 to schedule a free consultation, or reach us online here.

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