What Happens At A Meeting Of Creditors In Bankruptcy?
Those who are considering filing bankruptcy may be confused by all of the different steps to the bankruptcy process. One of the parts that unnerves many people is the idea of the meeting of creditors, often because they do not know what will occur in the meeting. Knowing the purpose and format of the meeting of creditors help people feel more relaxed during the meeting and makes it go more smoothly.
What is a meeting of creditors?
The meeting of creditors, also called the 341 meeting because of the section of the Bankruptcy Code that establishes the meeting, is an important part of the bankruptcy process. While the meeting is called the “meeting of creditors,” creditors almost never show up for 341 meetings. Creditors have the opportunity to raise any objections they have to the petition during the meeting, but rarely attend these meetings. The meeting is also the opportunity for the trustee administrating the case to meet with the bankruptcy petitioner and discuss the petition. The trustee uses the meeting to make sure that the information on the bankruptcy petition is accurate.
The meeting takes place fairly soon after a person files a bankruptcy petition. The meeting is scheduled between 30 and 60 days after a person files a bankruptcy petition.
What happens during the meeting?
The meeting of creditors is informal, and it is not uncommon for a meeting of creditors to only last between five and 10 minutes. The meeting usually takes place in a meeting room in a courthouse, not a courtroom. The trustee runs the meeting, and no judge is present. The trustee begins by swearing in the petition, and it is important for petitioners to remember that they are under oath when responding to the trustee.
The trustee will then ask the petitioner for photo identification and proof of Social Security Number. After that, the trustee will ask a series of questions about the information on the petition, as well as the values of current assets, recent transfers of assets, income tax filing activity and whether the petitioner is owed any money or due to receive any assets in the future.
How do I prepare for the meeting?
People can prepare for the meeting of creditors by reviewing their bankruptcy petitions to ensure accuracy. Additionally, people should be sure to gather all of their supporting documents, such as recent bank statements, proof of current income, photo identification and Social Security cards and any other requested documents. People should also be sure to speak with their attorneys prior to their meetings if they have any questions about what to bring or what will happen in the meeting.
Those who are considering bankruptcy should also speak with an attorney who can help answer their questions about the bankruptcy process. If you are overwhelmed with debt and do not know where to turn, talk to a bankruptcy lawyer about whether the bankruptcy process is right for you.