Provisions of Section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code
Section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code is titled meetings of creditors and equity security holders and contains the provisions for conducting this court hearing. Because it is governed by section 341, the hearing is often called a 341 meeting. The hearing is scheduled to occur 30-45 days after you file your petition for bankruptcy. You are required to attend, but this may be the only court appearance you must make during your bankruptcy proceedings.
The clerk of court sends notice to all of the creditors listed on your petition. Although the creditors are permitted to attend the 341 meeting if they choose, it is not the norm in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases. Creditors who do appear, however, are permitted to ask you questions that are limited in scope to basic fact finding. Creditors cannot effectively challenge your bankruptcy at the meeting of creditors. To oppose discharge of a debt in a Chapter 7 case, a creditor may choose to file an adversary pleading with the bankruptcy court.
Your 341 hearing is likely to be very brief. First, you are placed under oath at the hearing. The trustee then asks you a series of questions, which usually just involves a review of the contents of your petition or clarification of certain issues. A bankruptcy lawyer can prepare you to answer these questions so you feel confident in your responses. Your attorney should also anticipate any out-of-the-ordinary questions — if you have atypical creditors or debts, for example.