What Documents Are Required by a Trustee After a 341 Hearing During Chapter 13?

By Mary Jane Freeman

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is popular among debtors who want to keep property such as the family home. Debtors filing under Chapter 13 enter into a repayment plan in which they pay creditors over a three-to-five year period. Before repayment begins, however, Chapter 13 debtors must participate in a 341 hearing, known as a meeting of the creditors, in which debtors provide certain documents and disclose important information to the bankruptcy trustee.

Typical Paperwork Required

A 341 hearing is a meeting the debtor is required to attend shortly after he files for bankruptcy. Creditors may also attend, but rarely do. During this meeting, the bankruptcy trustee interviews the debtor about his current financial status and reviews any documents she asked the debtor to bring. When the meeting is over, the debtor must provide a few additional documents to the trustee. This includes anything the trustee specifically requested, such as copies of current and previous year's filed tax returns, a certificate of completion for the required Personal Financial Management course and certification that all domestic support obligations are up to date or that no such obligations exist.

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Unlike the popular notion that bankruptcy erases a debtor’s debts, Chapter 13 bankruptcy, also known as the “wage earner’s plan,” allows debtors to forge a path to financial recovery by creating a repayment plan. Named after the chapter of the bankruptcy code that contains its rules, Chapter 13 lets debtors keep their property while repaying the debts owed, under the supervision of the bankruptcy court. This is in stark contrast to Chapter 7 bankruptcy, in which the debtor’s possessions are liquidated in order to pay his debt.

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