In both Oregon and Washington, clients are always at least a little bit nervous regarding the one hearing that they have to attend while their bankruptcy case is pending. That hearing, commonly known as the 341 hearing or meeting of the creditors, generally takes place a month after the case is filed. Often clients lose sleep as the hearing approaches for no good reason.
In both Oregon and Washington, creditors rarely appear at 341 creditors hearings at least that is the case here in Salem, Vancouver and Portland. Why? There is little that creditors can do at these hearings. In Portland, 341 hearing are scheduled at a rate of roughly ten per hour. This means that the trustee will rarely devote more than six minutes to any one case. Creditors who are familiar with the process rarely bother to appear: They know that there is not time to ask any significant questions, and creditors who are not familiar with the bankruptcy process will often find themselves cut off by the trustee after just a few questions.
There is also very little that an unsecured creditor can do at a hearing. Unless fraud has taken place, an unsecured creditor likely has little if any basis for recovery. Occasionally a secured creditor might show up or to ask the debtor if he wants to keep his property or make sure that the debtor has insurance, but that is about it.
The fact is that the only things that you really need to worry about is getting every single document requested by the trustee or your attorney long before the hearing and showing up on time with proof of social security number and your photo identification.
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