An important part of the bankruptcy process is the meeting of creditors. You may feel reluctant to face your creditors, but the meeting is not held to embarrass or harass you. When you know what to expect during the meeting, you can overcome your fear of the unknown and be more at ease. Here are ten things to expect.
An important part of the bankruptcy process is the meeting of creditors. You may feel reluctant to face your creditors, but the meeting is not held to embarrass or harass you. When you know what to expect during the meeting, you can overcome your fear of the unknown and be more at ease. Here are ten things to expect. To learn more, contact O'Bryan Law Offices today.
The Meeting of Creditors Is Mandatory
It is mandatory for you to attend the meeting of creditors. If the bankruptcy is a joint filing, your spouse must appear as well. You will receive advance notice of the meeting and must attend on the date indicated.
How Is the Meeting Scheduled?
Once you file bankruptcy papers, the clerk of the bankruptcy court will schedule a meeting of creditors or "341 meeting". All parties involved in the bankruptcy will receive a notice from the clerk about the time and place of the meeting.
Who Conducts the Meeting?
The bankruptcy trustee appointed to your case will preside over the meeting of creditors. This is a time for trustees and the creditors to ask you questions about your assets, liabilities, and other related matters. The trustee asks you questions to confirm that the information on your bankruptcy documents is correct. He/she will also review your assets to see if any are not protected under bankruptcy exemptions.
Bring Proof of Identity
You will be asked for a photo ID as well as documentation of your Social Security number. If you don't have an original Social Security card, a pay stub showing your Social Security number will work.
You Will Be Under Oath
Your meeting will be in either a meeting room or a court room. When your case is called, you will be placed under oath. Answer all questions truthfully and as completely as possible.
There Could Be Multiple Creditors
For Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy meetings of creditors, about ten cases are scheduled in a one-hour period. It's quite common for ten or more meetings to be scheduled for the same time. The cases are called one-by-one and all the parties involved along with their lawyers will sit at a table with the bankruptcy trustee. This is a public meeting. There will be other people who are there for the same reason you are.
You are required to attend the meeting of creditors, but your creditors aren't required to appear. Sometimes creditors want to know whether or not you intend to pay; they might also attend out of a sense of curiosity.
The 341 Meeting Is Not the Same as a Court Hearing
The bankruptcy judge is prohibited by law from attending the meeting of creditors. Remember, the bankruptcy trustee manages this meeting. Even though no legal decision will be made at this meeting, you are still under oath.
Questions You'll Be Asked
The bankruptcy trustee will ask you a series of questions related to your bankruptcy filing.
- Did you review your bankruptcy schedules prior to signing?
- Are your bankruptcy schedules true and accurate?
- Do you have any changes to your schedules?
- Did you list all of your assets?
- Did you list all of your debts?
He/she may also ask about the value of your assets.
- How did you value your home?
- How did you value your car?
- Do you have any claims against anyone?
- Are you expecting an inheritance?
- Have you transferred any assets?
Don't Be Nervous
Believe it or not, the meeting of creditors only takes about five minutes. Once the questions have been asked and answered, the bankruptcy trustee will adjourn the meeting and you're done. Most of the time, bankruptcy will proceed after the 341 meeting is over.
This may be the only face-to-face meeting with the bankruptcy trustee. While it's natural to be nervous before a meeting of creditors, when it's over you can concentrate on making a fresh start.
Speak to a Bankruptcy Attorney Today
At O'Bryan Law Offices, we can address your concerns about bankruptcy. We can help you prepare for the meeting of creditors, as well as take the anxiety out of the process.