Soon after you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition, you will be required to attend a creditors’ meeting. Its purpose is to verify the accuracy of the information in your filings and to determine if there is anything that would make you ineligible for debt relief. Creditors’ meetings —also known as Section 341 meetings — have historically been held in person at a courthouse or office building. But in the wake of the federal courts’ successful experiences with remote proceedings, these meetings are now being held online.
The U.S. Trustee’s Office has recently adopted a program for virtual Section 341 meetings of creditors via Zoom. They are being rolled out in federal districts across the country. In the Northern District of Georgia, which includes Atlanta, virtual meetings are being held in all chapter 7, 12 and 13 cases filed on or after October 2, 2023.
If there are extenuating circumstances that preclude a debtor’s attendance by Zoom, the trustee may approve alternative arrangements for 341 meetings. However, only in rare cases will an in-person meeting be scheduled.
A creditors’ meeting via Zoom proceeds generally in the same way as an in-person meeting. However, there is new procedure for production of documents that used to be brought to the meeting. At least 14 days prior to the meeting, you or your attorney must send the following to the trustee appointed in the case:
At the virtual meeting, the trustee will preside, without a judge’s presence. You and your bankruptcy attorney are likely to be the only attendees. The trustee will put you under oath and have you verify the accuracy and completeness of the information you provided in your filings and might ask you additional questions. Although creditors receive notice of these meetings, they typically do not attend. If they do, they might question you about any assets and finances that might be available to repay debts.
If the trustee concludes the meeting without requesting an additional hearing, you are likely to receive a Chapter 7 discharge without further court proceedings. If the trustee requests additional information, another meeting may be scheduled, but you can probably make it unnecessary by providing the requested information promptly.
Jeff Field & Associates in Newnan provides reliable advice and effective representation in bankruptcy matters for debtors throughout the Atlanta metropolitan area. To schedule free initial consultation, call 404-381-1278 or contact us online.
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