The one court appearance every debtor must attend is their meeting of creditors (also known as a 341 meeting). While not in a courtroom, the hearing is conducted under oath and held in a meeting room at the bankruptcy court. The debtor’s bankruptcy attorney will appear with them at their meeting of creditors.
It is called a meeting of creditors because any of the debtor’s creditors may appear and ask the debtor questions under oath. Questions are typically geared toward gathering more information that the debtor has listed in the petition filed with the Bankruptcy Court. However, that rarely happens. Ninety-nine percent of the time, no creditor shows up, and the bankruptcy trustee asks the questions. Typical questions asked by a bankruptcy trustee focus on ensuring that the information in a debtor’s bankruptcy petition is accurate and complete.
- The meeting of creditors is typically held 4-6 weeks after the case is filed.
- Debtors may wear casual clothes.
- Debtors must bring a photo identification and proof of their social security number to the meeting of creditors.
As a practical matter, leave cell phones in the car. The courthouse security will not allow any phones with cameras into the building. If a debtor has a cell phone on them, they will be sent back to their car to leave it, and depending on what courthouse it is, that could be a long walk.