Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Creditor’s Meeting
If you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition, you will be required to attend a mandatory Meeting of the Creditors pursuant to Rule 341 of the US Bankruptcy Code. Many of my clients experience anxiety or nervousness before attending the meeting, but there really is no need for concern.
The meeting is held outside of the presence of the judge and usually occurs between 20 and 40 days after the filing of the petition. The meeting permits the trustee or the representative of the U.S. Trustee to review the debtor’s petition and schedules face-to-face with the debtor. The debtor is required to answer questions under penalty of perjury (swearing or affirming to tell the truth) about the debtor’s conduct, property, liabilities, financial condition, and any other matter that may affect the administration of the case or the debtor’s right to discharge. In addition, the trustee representative will ask questions to ensure that the debtor understands the bankruptcy process.
What is the Meeting of The Creditors?
The meeting is referred to as a “meeting of creditors” because creditors are notified that they may attend and ask the debtor questions pertaining to assets or any other matter pertinent to the administration of the case. Creditors are not required to attend these meetings and do not waive any rights if they do not attend. In fact, in my experience, creditors rarely attend the meeting.
What should a debtor expect?
The meeting usually lasts only about ten to fifteen minutes and may be continued if the trustee is not satisfied with the information presented. In Colorado, and many other jurisdictions, debtors are required to bring the following documents to the meeting:
- Picture identification issued by a government agency
- Proof of current income (i.e. pay stubs or earning statements)
- Bank and investment account statements dating back to the time of filing
- Proof of monthly expenses claimed by the debtor
If the debtor fails to appear and provide the information requested, the trustee or U.S. Trustee’s representative may request that the case be dismissed, or may seek other relief against the debtor for failure to cooperate. If the case involves spouses filing jointly, both spouses must appear at the meeting of creditors.
Finally, you should plan to arrive about 10-15 minutes before the scheduled meeting to confer with your bankruptcy attorney and to allow him or her to verify that you have brought all of the necessary documents and information needed by the Trustee. Contact me at 303-741-2354 for advice from an experienced bankruptcy attorney today.