What Should I Expect At My Chapter 13 Meeting of the Creditors?


It is called the 341 hearing or meeting of the creditors. Section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code provides what is to take place at the meeting of the creditors, but Section 343 of the Bankruptcy Code is actually the section that is entitled “Examination of the Debtor” and provides the bankruptcy filer must appear for examination and provide testimony under oath.

At least a week before the meeting of the creditors your bankruptcy lawyer should provide the trustee’s office with at least your federal tax return. Some trustees require additional information depending upon the circumstances. Most trustees will also inform your bankruptcy attorney of the issues that need to be resolved before the trustee and recommend approval/confirmation of your Chapter 13 plan.

The meeting of the creditors is administered by the Chapter 13 trustee’s office. Either the actual Chapter 13 Trustee or his/her attorney will conduct the meeting. You will need valid identification and proof of your social security number for the meeting. The trustee must verify you are the person listed in the bankruptcy petition. For identification a valid driver’s license or passport will work and your social security card, an original W-2 or government document with your social security number on it will work to prove your social security number.

Once your identity is verified you will be sworn in and placed under penalty of perjury. Most of the time the standard questions are as follows: Do you review and sign the petition before it was filed? Did you list all of your assets? Did you list all of your debts? Did you list all of your income? Has there been any changes to your income since the case was filed? Is this your only source of income? How many consecutive years have you lived in California? Do you own any vehicles? If so, are your vehicles insured? Do you own any real property? If so, are the mortgage payments current or have you made your mortgage payments since the bankruptcy case was filed? Are the property taxes current? Is the real property insured? Have you stopped using all of your credit cards? Have you made a payment of $1,000 or more to any single entity in the last six months outside the normal course of business? Are there any changes to the petition that need to be made that you are aware of?

There are usually a few questions directly related to your circumstances too. By the time the meeting of the creditors you will have had to make at least one Chapter 13 Plan payment. They will then verify you either made the payment or not and let you know when the next payment is due. If everything is in order the trustee can let you know if they are recommending confirmation/approval of your Chapter 13 Plan. If there are any creditor objections to confirmation filed there may be a brief discussion about what needs to take place to resolve the objections. If there are no creditors that wish to be heard in the matter the meeting will be concluded. Creditors have the right to attend the meeting and ask you questions about the bankruptcy petition, your income, assets or ability to pay your debts. It is usually not worth the time and money for a creditor to pay an attorney to show up at the meeting of creditors and ask questions.