By: Samuel Pittman
Appearance at Bankruptcy Proceedings
For all Bankruptcy debtors, the 341 Meeting of Creditors or “341 Meeting” is a mandatory proceeding required under the United States Bankruptcy Code. If you file for Bankruptcy, you will be required to attend a 341 Meeting. If you are filing as a married couple, both spouses must appear at the 341 Meeting. In special circumstances, and with Bankruptcy court approval, the appearance of one spouse may be waived. Many of our clients are nervous about this appearance, but it is a simple and straightforward process. A primary purpose of the 341 Meeting is to ensure, on the record, that your Bankruptcy filing is accurate and truthful and to verify your identity. One of our experienced Bankruptcy attorneys will attend the 341 Meeting with you and will be prepared to help you address any issues that may arise.
What Happens at the Bankruptcy 341 Meeting?
As the name 341 Meeting of Creditors implies, your creditors have the opportunity to appear at the 341 Meeting and ask you questions about your debt. However, in nearly all of our 341 Meetings no creditors appear. Your 341 Meeting will almost certainly be very brief—many 341 Meetings are concluded in five to seven minutes or less. Almost all 341 Meetings follow this pattern:
The Bankruptcy case trustee will call your case;
You will stand in front of the Bankruptcy case trustee, who will place you under oath and then you will be seated;
Your Bankruptcy attorney will state their appearance on the record;
The Bankruptcy case trustee will review your driver’s license and social security card to verify your identity (you must have these documents with you at the 341 Meeting);
The Bankruptcy case trustee will ask you some general questions such as:
- Have you reviewed all paperwork filed in your case before it was filed? Are you familiar with the contents of those documents?
- Have you fully disclosed all information? Disclosed all assets? Disclosed all debts? Disclosed all income?
- Did you sign the paperwork in your case?
- Have you lived in the State of Arizona for the past 2 years?
- Are you expecting an inheritance?
The questions asked by the Bankruptcy case trustee at the 341 Meeting are repetitive of questions you will have answered in your Bankruptcy Petition and Schedules. Remember, a primary purpose of the 341 Meeting is to have you affirm, under oath, the truthfulness and accuracy of your Bankruptcy Petition and Schedules.
An audio recording is made of your testimony at the 341 Meeting; therefore, you should be sure to answer clearly.
Where will my Bankruptcy 341 Meeting by Held?
If you reside in Maricopa County, your 341 Meeting will be held at the United States Bankruptcy Courthouse, located at 230 N. 1st Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85003, at the Southwest corner of Van Buren and 1st Avenue. The Bankruptcy trustee meeting room is on the first floor.
This is a downtown location, and you must pay to park. There are meters available for parking and there are also surface parking lots and garages available near the Bankruptcy Courthouse. Make sure allow plenty of time to find parking and walking to the Bankruptcy Courthouse. Additionally, the Valley Metro Light Rail has a stop at 1st Avenue and Van Buren, less than 100 yards from the Bankruptcy Courthouse entrance. Upon entering the Bankruptcy Courthouse, you will have to present your photo ID and pass through security. Once you have passed through security, the security guards will be happy to direct you to the 341 Meeting rooms.
If you reside outside of Maricopa County, we will provide you with the location of your 341 Meeting.
For nearly all Bankruptcy 341 Meetings, the process is direct and uncomplicated. You are simply affirming under oath that your Bankruptcy Petition and Schedules are truthful and accurate. Remember that one of our experienced Bankruptcy attorneys will be representing you at the 341 Meeting and will be prepared to help you should any unusual issue arise.
Additional Court Appearances
For the vast majority of our clients, the only appearance at a formal proceeding will be the 341 Meeting. However, contested issues occasionally arise in a Bankruptcy case. For example, there might be a dispute over the value of a particular item of property. In such a situation, you could possibly be required to attend a hearing to provide testimony regarding the disputed facts. Should such a situation arise, one of our experienced Bankruptcy attorneys will be available to represent you at the hearing. However, keep in mind that only a very small percentage of Bankruptcy cases lead to court appearances beyond the 341 Meeting.