One of the earliest events in any bankruptcy case is the “341 Meeting,” which derives its name from the section of the bankruptcy code (11 USC 341). The meetings are generally quite short and are conducted by a trustee regardless of whether you file a chapter 7 (the Chapter 7 Trustee), a Chapter 13 (the Chapter 13 Trustee), or a Chapter 11 (the Assistant U.S. Trustee).
You will ordinarily need to bring a photo ID (driver’s license) and proof of your social security number (such as your social security card). The Trustee will, prior to the meeting, already have copies of your recent tax returns, bankruptcy submissions, bank records, and wage information. You will be sworn in as a witness and asked questions about your bankruptcy schedules. The questions vary slightly depending on who is conducting the meeting, but by and large, the Trustee will want an overview of the accuracy of your bankruptcy schedules and the valuation applied to certain assets.
After cycling through their list of questions, the Trustee will open the floor to creditors who may have questions. Sometimes creditors are represented at the meeting, sometimes not. Those creditors will generally ask about their specific debt or inquire with the Trustee about consenting to stay relief.
It is important to realize that the 341 Meeting is not a court appearance, but has some similar characteristics of one. While the Trustee has control over the meeting, he or she is not a judge. It is also important to realize that you will testify under oath. Because your bankruptcy schedules are filed under oath, and you will further be testifying as to the accuracy of those schedules in the 341 Meeting, it is important to always be truthful.