What is a meeting of creditors or 341(a)?
The meeting of creditors required under section 341(a) of the bankruptcy code allows all of your creditors and other interested parties to ask you questions about your debts and asset schedules. This is typically a quick and routine meeting.
A person called a trustee will swear you in and confirm you are who you say you are, they will ask questions about the documents you filed in the case, and they may have some questions of their own.
In Chapter 7, the trustee is looking to make sure you’ve been honest and listed all your assets and debts, as well as considering whether you have assets that can be liquidated to pay your debts.
In Chapter 13, the trustee is looking to make sure you’ve been honest and listed all your assets and debts, as well as considering whether the proposed Chapter 13 plan and budget work to complete the Chapter 13 case.
Other creditors are allowed to appear and ask questions to you under oath. In most cases, no creditors will appear as they know what the result will be in the bankruptcy case. The most burdensome questions often come from angry ex-spouses or frustrated ex-business partners, although occasionally other people do show up to ask questions.
A typical bankruptcy hearing lasts 5-10 minutes. This is typically the only time you must appear in court. Your attorney will handle all the rest of the court appearances for most cases.
Recognizing the stress of attending a hearing, the Oregon Bankruptcy Court has posted the following video of an Oregon Trustee conducting a mock meeting of creditors.