When you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must attend a mandatory hearing called the meeting of creditors (also referred to as the 341 hearing). But despite its name, chances are none of your creditors will actually show up at your meeting of creditors. Read on to learn more about whether your creditors will attend your 341 hearing.
For more information on what to expect at your 341 hearing, see our topic area on The Meeting of Creditors.
What Is the Purpose of the Meeting of Creditors?
The meeting of creditors gives your creditors and the bankruptcy trustee appointed to oversee your case a chance to ask you questions under oath about your bankruptcy petition and your financial affairs. In addition, at the hearing you will have to verify all of the information disclosed in your bankruptcy papers under penalty of perjury. This means that if you lie on your bankruptcy papers or try to hide your assets, the trustee or your creditors will likely find out about it at the meeting of creditors.
How Do Creditors Know About Your 341 Hearing?
When you fill out your bankruptcy paperwork, you must list all of your creditors and their contact information. In addition, you are required to create a creditor mailing list (or creditor mailing matrix) and file it with the court. When you file your bankruptcy case, the court will mail out a notice to all of your creditors regarding the time and location of your meeting of creditors.
Reasons Creditors Might Not Attend Your Meeting of Creditors
At the meeting of creditors, your creditors have a chance to question you under oath. Usually their questions must be limited to the nature and location of your assets. They can’t use the 341 hearing to gather extensive information and conduct discovery into their personal claims.
In general, most creditors don’t attend 341 hearings because:
- the majority of Chapter 7 bankruptcies are no-asset cases (meaning the debtor owns no nonexempt property that can be distributed to creditors)
- the scope of the questioning is limited
- it’s not cost effective for them to hire an attorney or come to the hearing, and
- they don’t lose their right to object to your discharge or your Chapter 13 repayment plan even if they don’t attend the meeting of creditors.
Reasons Creditors Might Come to Your 341 Hearing
If you file for bankruptcy, chances are you will not see any of your creditors at your 341 hearing. In most cases, creditors only attend bankruptcy meetings of creditors if:
- they believe you are lying on your bankruptcy papers, hiding income or property, or otherwise committing bankruptcy fraud, or
- they want to ask you about what you intend to do with a piece of property they have a lien on, such as your home or car.
What Happens If None of Your Creditors Attend Your 341 Hearing?
It’s very common for creditors to not attend 341 hearings. In fact, it’s usually a good thing because it means that your creditors didn’t have any specific questions to ask you about your bankruptcy papers.
But keep in mind that just because your creditors didn’t come to your 341 hearing doesn’t mean that they will not object to your bankruptcy. Your creditors still have time to file objections to your discharge or your Chapter 13 repayment plan even after the meeting of creditors.