What to Expect After Attending the 341 Meeting of Creditors

When you file for bankruptcy, whether Chapter 7 or 13, you will be required to attend the 341 Meeting of Creditors.
Information in this article does not constitute legal advice, it is for informational purposes only, and may not constitute the most up-to-date information. Readers should contact their attorney for advice on any particular legal matter.

When you file for bankruptcy, whether Chapter 7 or 13, you will be required to attend the 341 Meeting of Creditors. After filing your bankruptcy trustee will conduct the meeting after 20 to 45 days. If this sounds new to you, you can refer to these blogs that discuss more about the 341 Meeting:

  • 341 Meeting Question the Bankruptcy Trustee Asks
  • 10 Things You Need to Know About Your 341 Meeting

If you are familiar with the meeting, you might be curious about what happens after attending the meeting. What next? You will need to go for a Financial Management Course and the Debtor Education course and complete it.

Keep on reading, or jump ahead to the section that interests you most.

Table of Contents

Pro Tip: Consider taking the second course before attending the 341 Meeting. It has a deadline and missing it could negatively affect your bankruptcy case..

I Attended the Meeting, What's Next?

If you filed a Chapter 7 case, there is nothing left to do if you have completed the financial management course, attended the meeting, and filed your certificate of completion. All you need to do is wait for the court to review your case, approve your bankruptcy discharge, and close your case.

In Chapter 13, after the 341 Meeting, you will be required to continue making monthly payments to your trustee as per the repayment plan. Your bankruptcy lawyer can help you resolve any objections that might arise regarding the bankruptcy plan and get it confirmed by the court. You will then continue making your payments until the debts are paid off.

A Chapter 13 repayment plan takes between 36 and 50 months. Once you are through, the trustee will complete the final accounting, and in three months or less, you will get your bankruptcy discharge.

We understand you could be anxious about the 341 Meeting. Here is a recent experience from someone who attended the meeting after filing for bankruptcy.

What Happens After the 341 Meeting of Creditors

We get a lot of questions about what one should do after successfully attending the 341 Meeting. Here are comprehensive answers to each question.

What Will my Chapter 7 Trustee Do After the Meeting?

Since most of the Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases are no-asset, the trustee will not take your property to sell to repay unsecured creditors. There are bankruptcy exemptions that will protect the equity in assets used to repay the debts. Therefore, the trustee will do nothing in a no-asset case.

However, if the trustee goes through your assets and identifies one with equity, they might take it and sell it. The proceeds of the sale will be forwarded to your unsecured creditors. Before selling, the trustee is legally required to file a motion to sell or auction the asset. When submitting the motion, they must include documents related to claims, plans for disbursement, and accounting documents.

Although you will get copies of any documents filed with the court regarding your bankruptcy case, there is nothing more you can do. You will also receive your bankruptcy discharge after the court closes the case (after the trustee completes their work and files the final accounting).

Can You Spend Money After 341 Meeting?

If your trustee abandoned all the assets during the 341 hearing, the money, and income after the meeting is yours to spend. However, it is important to be sure about the outcome of your case before spending the money. Always consult your Chapter 7 trustee or bankruptcy lawyer about the outcome.

It is wise to avoid spending money before the meeting if the bankruptcy code does not exempt it. Otherwise, the trustee might ask you to turn over the money to their office as they consider it an asset from the bankruptcy estate.

In Chapter 13, the debtor can spend money how they choose as long as they keep up with their monthly payments. The trustee's role is to oversee you send in your bankruptcy payments, and they do not follow up on where the rest of the money goes.

Pro Tip: Avoid spending money on large or luxury purchases or repaying debt to friends and family until you receive the order to close your bankruptcy case. Spending luxuriously might give creditors a different impression, and they could file a motion to object to your bankruptcy discharge. 

Objections will trigger hearings, which will keep your case open until it is resolved, and at worst, they may be successful in having their debt protected from discharge, forcing you to pay them back.

How Long Should I Wait to Get My Bankruptcy Discharge After Attending the 341 Meeting of Creditors?

It takes 60 to 90 days for the bankruptcy court to grant discharge after the 341 Meeting. However, some factors could affect how long it takes. For example, if there are creditor objections, the court must schedule hearings to listen to their reasons and determine the outcome. Thus, delaying the discharge.

Also, the complexity of the case will affect how long it takes to get a discharge. If your bankruptcy case has some unique circumstances or requires a sale of assets, it might take longer. Incomplete debtor education or other unresolved issues in your case might delay the discharge as well.

If your case does not have any objections, you can receive your discharge between 60 and 90 days after the meeting. This is about four to six months after filing your Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

How Much Longer Would It Take if My Case Has Objections?

As frustrating as it sounds, sometimes, creditors object to the discharge. In this case, the court conducts hearings. During the hearing, the creditor explains their reasons for objecting, and the court listens and determines if their reasons are valid and legal. If they are, and your creditor wins, your other debts will be discharged apart from theirs. You will, therefore, owe them the non-discharged debt.

Your Chapter 7 trustee also has a say in the matter and could object to the discharge. They might ask the court to deny your entire discharge. Should the trustee win, none of your debts will be discharged. Therefore, you will owe your debts as you did before filing for bankruptcy. We recommend you work with a bankruptcy attorney to increase your chances of getting your debts discharged.

How Soon After the 341 Meeting Can I Apply for a Loan?

It depends. What Chapter did you file? A Chapter 7 debtor is allowed to get credit after attending the meeting. However, it is not advisable to incur more debt until the bankruptcy case is closed, as most creditors don't extend their services to customers with ongoing bankruptcy cases. The risk is too high for them. A Chapter 13 debtor, on the other hand, cannot apply for any loan without the court's approval.

How Discharge in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Works

In Chapter 13, you only get a discharge on completing your payments according to the repayment plan. So, the discharge might take three to five years after the 341 Meeting.

NOTE: Receiving an Order of Discharge differs from receiving an Order Closing a Bankruptcy Case. The former means your debts have been discharged, which does not necessarily mean the court has closed your case. Once the bankruptcy court closes your case, you will receive the Order Closing Bankruptcy Case. Usually, the discharge comes before the case is closed.

The bankruptcy discharge relieves you of the liability to repay your outstanding debts. It eliminates your debts like they never existed, including unsecured debts. Sometimes, it comes with the order of closing, and sometimes not. So, while reading through the orders, be careful and consult a bankruptcy attorney if you need further clarification.

Buying a Car After Bankruptcy Hearing

If you filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you would need to seek the approval of the bankruptcy court to buy a new vehicle if you need to incur debt to buy it. But, if you buy it with cash, you can proceed without involving the court. Consult your bankruptcy lawyer to ensure the equity in your car will not affect your repayment plan.

In a Chapter 7 case, you must wait until you finish the 341 Meeting to buy a car. However, since your assets are still under the bankruptcy estate, if your trustee deems fit, they could take the car and sell it to repay your debts.

Best Option: Wait until you get an Order Closing Bankruptcy Case in Chapter 7 to buy a car. Otherwise, you risk losing it.

Is It Okay to Get a Job After 341 Meeting?

Yes, getting a job after your bankruptcy 341 meeting is okay, though it might come with some complications. In Chapter 13, a new job means an additional source of income, which could increase your monthly plan payments. Always consult your bankruptcy attorney and consider the impact it would have.

In Chapter 7, a new job will not affect your case, provided you have not committed bankruptcy fraud. However, when the court determines your eligibility to file, they consider income earned six months before filing.

Try our Free Chapter 7 Calculator below to determine if you're eligible to file.

You Are A Call Away from a Debt Free Life

Taking a step in the right direction brings you closer to a debt-free life. We have a lot of free services for debtors to ensure they get the debt relief they seek. If your debts are overwhelming and getting worse by the day, contact us at (310) 307-5134. You can also talk to us online. We offer a free consultation and case evaluation, so why not?

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