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Will I have to go to court if I file Bankruptcy?

April 23, 2018

During my initial consultations, clients often want to know whether they will have to appear in court as a part of their case.  The short answer is that yes, an appearance at the courthouse for the "341 meeting of the creditors" is typically required, but the meeting is far less daunting than most fear. 

 

The required appearance in consumer bankruptcy cases, know as the "341 meeting of the creditors," typically takes place 4-6 weeks after your case is filed.  These meetings usually take place in a courtroom, but only because it is a convenient place for attorneys, their clients and the trustee to meet.  The 341 meeting is conducted by the trustee who has been assigned to your case; there is no judge presiding over the meeting and the meetings are not adversarial in nature (meaning that no one is there to yell at you).  

 

The meetings are typically brief, and can be as short as only a minute or two in chapter 7 cases.   At the meeting, the trustee will get you to swear under oath that everything in your case is truthful and accurate (this helps with perjury enforcement for those rare cases when individuals conceal assets or lie in their bankruptcy petition).  In addition, the trustee may ask you questions about your assets, or about other issues in your case.  In chapter 13 cases, the trustee will require you to certify information regarding your income, any domestic support obligations and whether you are current on filing your tax returns.  Creditors and their attorneys are allowed to attend the meeting, but rarely do they appear.  

 

After the 341 meeting, there are no other "mandatory" appearances, unless there is some other motion or hearing that might come up in your case (which is uncommon).  341 meetings are nothing for clients to be anxious about as your attorney will be present with you at the meeting and can prepare you for what to expect.  If you are concerned about attending the 341 meeting (for health reasons, or otherwise) discuss these issues with your attorney.   

 

 

 

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