The Bankruptcy Meeting of Creditors: No Cause for Anxiety

Last updated:
December 6, 2023

One of the most commonly asked questions about bankruptcy is, "Will I have to go to court?" In most bankruptcy cases, the answer is no. However, you will have to attend a hearing conducted by the bankruptcy trustee called the "meeting of creditors." With few exceptions, these meetings are now held via video or telephone. 

The primary purpose of this hearing is to allow the bankruptcy trustee to ask questions and have you confirm the information you provided in your petition, schedules, and other documents under oath. Knowing what to expect at this hearing will make things go smoother and help ease any anxiety you may be feeling.

Who Attends the Meeting of Creditors?

Generally, the only people at your meeting will be the trustee, your attorney, and you. Occasionally, a representative of the United States Trustee (the supervisor of the trustee program) will attend and ask questions. You should answer their questions like you would answer the bankruptcy trustee's questions.

Although creditors can attend the meeting and ask questions, it is very unusual for them to show up. It is simply a waste of their time. Many people are concerned that their creditors will grill them at this hearing. However, on the rare occasion when a creditor turns up, your attorney can ensure they do nothing inappropriate. 

Quick Note: Attorneys also use the term "341 hearing", which refers to the section of the Bankruptcy Code establishing the meeting of creditors (§ 341(a)).

How Long Does the Meeting Take?

This meeting is usually relatively short (often less than 15 minutes). However, you may have to wait a while before your case is called.

How the Meeting of Creditors Works

At the beginning of the meeting, the trustee will ask to see your driver's license and Social Security card and swear you in. (You should have your Social Security card and driver's license out and ready when the video call begins.) 

The trustee will then ask you questions related to the information you provided in your petition, schedules, and other documents. For a list of common questions, click here.

Quick Note: The meeting of creditors is somewhat less formal than a hearing held before a judge. Although you should dress neatly (think business casual), you do not need to wear a suit and tie. As these meetings are via video, be sure to select a quiet spot where you will not be interrupted. The background should be as neutral as possible. (Your attorney will give you more detailed instructions and speak with you before the meeting date).

The trustee will never try to trick you or trip you up. Please remember that just because you are asked a particular question does not mean anything is wrong. If, for example, the trustee asks you if the amount you listed for your salary is accurate, it does not indicate that the trustee thinks you are not telling the truth. Most often, the purpose of the question is to confirm information for the record. Remember, your bankruptcy lawyer will assist you if you do not understand a question. Of course, if anything is inaccurate or has changed, you must tell your attorney beforehand.

Quick Note: We ask our clients to complete the Financial Management/Debtor Education course (the second course)before the 341 meeting. It must be filed within sixty days of the first scheduled date for the meeting of creditors. So, it is best to get it out of the way to avoid a scramble to complete the course.


We will supply certain documents to the trustee before the meeting, including:

1. Your most recent pay stub.
2. Bank, retirement, and other financial statements showing the filing date.
3. Documents showing mortgage and auto loan balances as of the filing date.
4. Valuations of your real property and vehicles.
5. Proof of current insurance for real property and vehicles.
6. Your most recent federal tax form. (The last two years in business cases).  

There are forms you may need to sign as well. Other documents may be required in some cases, such as when the debtor owns a business.

If the trustee requests additional information or documents, you must provide them to your attorney as soon as possible.

After the Meeting of Creditors

In most Chapter 7 cases, unless the trustee requests additional information, you will not have to do anything else after the hearing. The trustee will send a report to the judge recommending discharge. About three months after the judge receives this report, the judge will sign your discharge order and close the case. At that point, your case is complete.

In a Chapter 13 case, the bankruptcy judge will hold a second hearing called a "confirmation hearing" sometime later in the process to determine if your Chapter 13 plan should be approved. However, you do not have to attend the confirmation hearing in most instances. 

It is common for the trustee to request changes to the Chapter 13 plan at or after the meeting of creditors (for example, to take into account a claim made by a creditor or pending changes in the debtor's income and expenses.). Once these changes have been made or an agreement reached, the trustee will recommend to the judge that your proposed Chapter 13 plan be confirmed. Typically, if the trustee recommends approval, the plan will be approved. 

The meeting of creditors is nothing to fear, but a little preparation will help ensure your case is approved without delay.

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About this Blog

Philadelphia Bankruptcy Attorney is published by Harborstone Law. Harborstone Law represents clients in bankruptcy and debt relief cases throughout Philadelphia and the surrounding Pennsylvania counties.

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Dan Mueller is a bankruptcy attorney and partner at Philadelphia-based Harborstone Law. Dan helps people and small businesses resolve serious financial and legal issue through bankruptcy and non-bankruptcy debt solutions.
Paul Midzak focuses his practice on debtor defense, dispute resolution, consumer protection law, and Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. He also advises businesses on a variety of legal matters.
Harborstone Law represents clients in bankruptcy, debt, consumer, and small business matters throughout Philadelphia, Montgomery, Delaware, Chester, Bucks, Berks, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Northampton Counties in Pennsylvania.
questions? Call our office at 215-248-0989
Committed to finding the best solutions for our clients.


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