Bankruptcy Meeting of Creditors
What Happens During the Bankruptcy Meeting of Creditors?
Understanding what happens during the bankruptcy meeting of creditors will put your mind at ease. The entire process usually only takes 5-10 minutes or less. It is just a short meeting at a table set up in your local federal courthouse. At that table, the Trustee assigned to your bankruptcy case will simply ask you a few questions.
An attorney from your bankruptcy office will always be there with you during the meeting. You will simply need to wait sitting at the chairs next to the examination area. The attorney from your office will call out your name and prepare you for the bankruptcy meeting. Once the meeting begins, your attorney will mainly only facilitate and offer explanations for any legal matters that might come up. You will have to do most of the talking. You will answer a series of simple questions about your income and assets that the Trustee will ask you.
If you have an attorney for your bankruptcy, everything is usually fully setup before you get to the bankruptcy meeting. Your attorney will attempt to deliver all documents and answer any questions the Trustee has before the bankruptcy meeting. The trustee will have also already reviewed your case. Unless the trustee is backed up on meetings, the entire process may actually go very quickly.
It is very rare for creditors to attend the bankruptcy meeting. If they do attend, it is generally only for very routine matters such as looking into the shape of collateral such as your house or car. Although it is technically called the “meeting of creditors, you usually should not anticipate any creditors attending.
Sometimes you will hear legal professionals referring to the bankruptcy meeting as the “341 Meeting.” This is simply because the bankruptcy meeting of creditors is described under Section 341 of the bankruptcy code. It is simply a short-hand reference that means exactly the same thing – the bankruptcy meeting.
When you go to the bankruptcy meeting, you should generally dress business casual. Simply wear presentable (but not extravagant) clothing that would be appropriate for an administrative meeting. You always need to bring your Driver’s License (or other state-issued identification) and your Social Security Card. The bankruptcy Trustee will NOT conduct the meeting usually without these two pieces of identification.
Under most local rules, you are also required to bring your full 90 days of bank statements that cover up to the day your bankruptcy case was filed. You should bring them whether or not your attorney has already sent them to the trustee. If you are working, you are also generally required to bring your two most recent paycheck stubs with you to the meeting.
If at all possible, also make sure to take the 2nd class required for the completion of your bankruptcy before the bankruptcy meeting. This 2nd class is usually referred to as “Debtor Education” or “Financial Management” by most providers. Use your attorney’s instructions for the completion of this 2nd course as outlined by the materials you have received for your case.