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What is the meeting of creditors?

After you file a petition for bankruptcy, you'll receive notice that a 341 meeting is scheduled and that you must attend it. These meetings routinely take place approximately 30 days from the day you filed your petition, and they are also referred to as the meeting of creditors.

The name "meeting of creditors" causes stress for some people who file bankruptcy. It sounds like all your creditors will be in the room, and for most people, that is daunting. The good news is that it's unlikely that any creditor will be in the room. In most cases, the 341 meeting only involves you, your lawyer, and the bankruptcy trustee.

That being said -- creditors are allowed to attend the 341 meeting, and occasionally do so if they have a very specific objection to a bankruptcy. This is fairly rare, because most creditors file objections or any other matters in the bankruptcy on paper.

In most situations, the 341 meeting involves arriving at the appointed time and waiting to be called by the trustee. The trustee usually schedules numerous bankruptcy proceedings at one time because he or she must travel to various courts to conduct these meetings.

Once you are called, you are sworn in before the trustee, who will record your answers to his or her questions. Those questions are usually routine and involve ensuring that you received certain information about bankruptcy prior to filing and that all the information you filed is accurate. Many times, the meeting is over within 15 minutes.

If you are worried about any aspect of your bankruptcy filing, speak with an attorney. He or she can help you understand what is required and why each step is taking place to alleviate your stress.

Source: U.S. Bankruptcy Court, "Debtor Frequently Asked Questions," accessed June 24, 2016

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