The Oregon State Bar states that after filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, debtors must attend a meeting of creditors to give testimony regarding their debts. This meeting, which is also known as a 341 meeting, is compulsory, and if the debtor fails to attend, the Court can dismiss his or her case as a result. A trustee is usually the one to oversee this meeting, which can last a few minutes in simple matters or many hours for complex cases. The trustee is often tasked with ensuring that procedure is followed, verifying that the testimony of the debtor is accurate, and making recommendations about the debtor’s plan to the judge.
The ultimate purpose of the meeting of creditors is to allow the trustee and creditors to gather valuable information regarding a debtor’s financial state. Questions are asked under oath, so debtors should be prepared to answer honestly, just as they would in a court of law. Failure to do so could result in perjury charges. Creditors and the trustee may enquire about a debtor’s income, property, expenses, past earnings and any repayment schedule the debtor would like the court to consider.
It is not rare for few or no creditors to attend this meeting. However, if there is any aspect of the proposed repayment plan that a creditor does not agree with, it should be addressed as thoroughly as possible before the meeting closes. If a creditor and debtor do not agree on the outcome, the judge will decide the matter. While a trustee can request that the meeting be continued to another day and time, it is rare and only occurs in special circumstances.