The Bankruptcy Code requires every debtor to appear and submit to a bankruptcy examination under oath at a meeting with the debtor’s creditors. This meeting is presided over by the bankruptcy trustee and is an opportunity for creditors and the trustee to determine if assets have improperly been disposed of or concealed or if there are grounds for objection to discharge. At this meeting the trustee must inform the Chapter 7 debtor of the consequences of bankruptcy, the availability of relief under other chapters of the Bankruptcy Code, and the effect of receiving a discharge of debts and of reaffirming a debt. Free Consultation
The Meeting of Creditors (also called the "Trustee’s Meeting," the "Creditors’ Meeting," or the 341 Meeting (after section 341 of the bankruptcy code which requires the meeting) is held between 20 and 40 days after your bankruptcy is filed. The bankruptcy court schedules the meeting and mails notices to all of your creditors. However, the bankruptcy judge is prohibited from attending the meeting. Since there is no judge, the Meeting of Creditors is not a judicial proceeding. Free Consultation
The bankruptcy trustee is required examine you under oath and investigate your financial affairs. The trustee then submits a report to the bankruptcy court and Office of the U.S. Trustee. The trustee is also required to ask specific questions, including:
Did you read your schedules before signing them?
Did you list all of your assets?
Did you list all of your debts?
Are your schedules accurate or do you need to make any corrections?
Do you have a domestic support obligation?
The trustee may also have specific questions concerning your schedules which may involve your assets, income, expenses, debts, or financial transactions. Your attorney will be present with you to assist you during this examination. The trustee may also require that you provide information or documents before, during or after the meeting including bank statements, pay stubs, tax returns, vehicle titles, and land ownership and debt documents. Finally, you are required to provide proof of identity including social security number and a government issued photo I.D. Free Consultation
Despite the name, the Meeting of Creditors is generally a meeting that no creditors attend. For most national creditors like Ford Motor Credit or Capital One it is not cost-effective to attend these meetings. Because the trustee conducts dozens of these meetings on the same day, any creditor questions are limited to only a few minutes. If the creditor needs additional time, it can ask the bankruptcy court to order the debtor to appear for a further examination between just the creditor and the debtor at a later date. Free Consultation
Many bankruptcy debtors are very nervous going into the Meeting of Creditors, but soon realize that it is just a procedural formality. Your bankruptcy attorney will assist you during your meeting, and can answer any questions concerning the Meeting of Creditors or the bankruptcy process. Free Consultation