341 Hearing

Usually between 20 and 40 days after you file your petition, the trustee will hold the "first meeting of creditors" (also called a "341 hearing"). You must be present for that meeting. The trustee can ask you questions under oath about your property and debts. Creditors can also question you on those subjects, but seldom do.

Generally, the only responsibilities you have with respect to the bankruptcy after the 341 meeting is to cooperate with the trustee in providing any requested information.

Creditors have 60 days after the 341 meeting to convince the bankruptcy court you shouldn't be allowed to discharge your debts.

Creditors may also approach you about what's called "reaffirmation" of debts. Reaffirmation is an agreement between you and a creditor that you will remain liable on a debt and will pay the remaining portion of the amount owed in order to keep certain property, such as an automobile, even though the debt could be discharged.

If you decide to reaffirm a debt, you are required under the Bankruptcy Code to file an agreement with the court. The agreement must disclose that you were advised of the amount of the debt you are reaffirming and how it was calculated and that you are aware that the debt will not be discharged. You must indicate your income and expenses so that the court can see that there is sufficient money to pay the reaffirmed debt. Unless you are represented by an attorney, the court must approve the agreement. A hearing will be held if the court disapproves. If an attorney represents you, he or she must certify in writing that they advised you of the legal consequences of the agreement, that you were fully informed and entered into the agreement voluntarily, and that the reaffirmation will not create an undue hardship on you and your family.


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