Bankruptcy Alphabet-H is for Hearing

Debtors are required to attend a meeting of creditors around 30 days following the filing of their bankruptcy petition. It’s not called a hearing, because a hearing is defined (by me) as being a session conducted by a judge who decides an argument currently at issue. Despite my contention that it is an examination, a debtor still feels like the §341 Meeting of Creditors is a hearing.

                     H is for Hearing

Photo by Leo Reynolds

If it is not a hearing, what is it?

     The §341 Meeting of Creditors is conducted by the appointed bankruptcy trustee to the case. The Meeting is extrajudicial, meaning it occurs outside of the scope or jurisdiction of the bankruptcy judge. In fact, the Bankruptcy Code prohibits the Court from any involvement in the Meeting. 11 U.S.C. §341(c)

Why is it called a Meeting of Creditors?

     A Debtor’s creditors are permitted to appear at the Meeting and ask the Debtor questions concerning the Debtor’s filed petition, assets, finances and anything relevant to the bankruptcy action.

Do all of my creditors appear?

     No, in fact, out of all of my cases, I’ve only had one creditor ever appear. It was the Internal Revenue Service. The Debtor owed a significant amount of taxes so it was no surprise to the Debtor that they appeared. The Debtor was prepared prior to the Meeting and everything went smoothly. That is not to say that creditors never show up, they just haven’t in my cases yet.

What about this trustee person?

     The Bankruptcy Trustee administers the Debtor’s case. His role at the Meeting is to examine the Debtor under oath to determine whether the petition is accurate and whether the Debtor has un-exempt assets in which can be claimed and liquidated. 11 U.S.C. §343

How long does a meeting last?

     In most cases it takes about two minutes. No joke. Once in awhile, when there are significant un-exempt assets, it may take longer. In even less instances, an examination by a creditor may require that it be held at another time only between the creditor and Debtor in a deposition like atmosphere.

There is not much more to the hearing…er, §341 Meeting of Creditors.

Other Bankruptcy Attorneys talking about the Letter H are as follows:
Household-New York Bankruptcy Attorney Jay S. Fleischman
House-Northern California Bankruptcy Lawyer, Cathy Moran

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