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Do Both Spouses Have to Attend Bankruptcy Meeting?

Due to either job requirements or sometimes health restrictions, we are frequently asked whether both spouses are required to attend the bankruptcy meeting. The answer we give is an unqualified, “yes,” both spouses must attend the bankruptcy meeting. The reason why both spouses must attend can be found in Section 341 of the bankruptcy code.

Section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code requires an “Oral” Examination at a Creditor’s Meeting

Because Section 341 of the bankruptcy code requires an “oral” examination of the debtor at a “creditor’s meeting,” both spouses must attend this bankruptcy meeting of creditors. Because it needs to be oral and at a place where the creditors can attend, the meeting must occur in-person with both debtors present. Although creditors rarely attend basic Chapter 7 bankruptcy meetings, the opportunity to attend these meetings must take place on every case. If both debtors are not physically present, then they cannot be examined by the trustee or the creditors.

The bankruptcy system has developed the bankruptcy meeting from these requirements to be a single-set “hearing-like” setting. Just as any other court hearing, you are required to attend in person. Both debtors’ identities must also be clearly established to prevent bankruptcy fraud by bringing their driver’s license and social security card in person. Telephonic or other not-in-person approaches are not allowed or at least very much opposed by the bankruptcy system because this further frustrates attempts to prove identity.

Are There Any Exceptions? What About Power-Of-Attorney?

The bankruptcy system makes few exceptions to in-person examination during the bankruptcy meeting. Even power-of-attorney is usually insufficient for someone else or a spouse to testify without the debtor in person. If at all possible, the debtor needs to attend: work requirements or other practical-type considerations are usually insufficient excuses. If the debtor faces complete physical disability or mental incapacity, then accommodations are sometimes made to make the bankruptcy system work for these rare situations. In almost every other situation, both debtors need to attend the bankruptcy meeting in person in order to meet the requirements of the bankruptcy code.

Bankruptcy Meeting of Creditors: You Have No Reason For Anxiety

Indianapolis Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer Describes the Bankruptcy Meeting of Creditors: You Have No Reason For Anxiety

Indianapolis bankruptcy definition in dictionary

Being a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer in Indianapolis, I have experienced the bankruptcy meeting of creditors possibly thousands of times. The Bankruptcy Meeting of Creditors can cause anxiety for many people who have never experienced it before. This article will describe the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Meeting to show you that there’s no cause for anxiety.

The Bankruptcy is Only a Procedural Requirement Under Section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code

Although you may have some anxiety about the Bankruptcy Meeting of Creditors, keep in mind that it is only a very routine procedural requirement of the Bankruptcy Code. Section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code requires the debtors in bankruptcy to be personally examined by the Bankruptcy Trustee through a series of simple questions. These questions are usually very routine and usually the Trustee does not anticipate for there to be any problems or assets in your case.

Your Creditors Will Most Likely Not Attend Your Bankruptcy Meeting

Although the Bankruptcy Meeting is many times referred to as the Meeting of Creditors, creditors very rarely attend these bankruptcy meetings. It is very unlikely that you will be examined by creditors in any way.

Keep in mind that the Bankruptcy Meeting is not a place for your creditors to object to the bankruptcy: it is only a place for your creditors to ask questions. Because there is usually no objection that creditors can bring to stop the discharge of their debt, creditors rarely find it necessary to attend the Bankruptcy Meeting.

Your Bankruptcy Meeting Will Go Smoothly Most Likely Because Your Attorney is Required to Present Documents to the Trustee Before the Meeting

When a Chapter 7 case goes as planned, documents will be sent to the Trustee ahead of time in order for review before the Trustee asks you any questions. Therefore, it is not very likely for there to be any surprises at the Bankruptcy Meeting. On occasion, additional documents or asset information may be needed after the Bankruptcy Meeting. However, such a request for additional documents is somewhat common and is no cause for alarm.

The Bankruptcy Meeting is Simple: You Sit Down and Answer Some Questions

Although it can be intimidating to come before a Bankruptcy Trustee, the reality is simply that you must sit down and answer some questions. Make sure to bring your driver’s license and Social Security card to the meeting and any other documents your attorney has requested. Also, be on time. After that, there is no reason for anxiety: just go to the Bankruptcy Meeting and answer the simple questions.

~Indianapolis Bankruptcy Attorney John F. Bymaster

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