Should I Be Worried About Going to My Meeting of Creditors?
There’s no doubt that declaring bankruptcy is a tough choice to make. For many, it’s the only viable way to start over with a clean slate. In 2021 alone, more than 413,000 people filed for bankruptcy in the United States. Though most people who file bankruptcy feel relief when it’s all said and done, it’s common to experience a range of emotions throughout the process. For many bankruptcy clients of attorney Joel R. Spivack, the most nerve-racking moments occur during the Meeting of Creditors.
Also called a 341 Hearing, this meeting is typically scheduled a month after filing a bankruptcy petition. It’s the only appearance debtors must make during the bankruptcy process. Typically, it lasts less than 30 minutes.
What is the Meeting of Creditors?
The Meeting of Creditors takes place with your bankruptcy Trustee. The Trustee’s role is to facilitate your bankruptcy case and maximize any recovery money paid to your Creditors. In some rare cases, a lawyer will be present to represent the banks or creditors to which you owe money.
This meeting allows your Trustee to verify your filing and determine if changes are needed. Additionally, your Trustee will establish whether you have any non-exempt equity, which you can use to pay Creditors. For your bankruptcy case to move forward, you must attend the Meeting of Creditors. If you miss the meeting, your bankruptcy case will likely be dismissed.
Prior to the Meeting of Creditors, your bankruptcy attorney will provide important paperwork to your Trustee for review and analysis. These items can include:
- Proof of Income
- Ownership and Valuation of Assets
- Bank Statements
- Motor Vehicle Information
- Retirement Information
- Life Insurance Information
What Happens During the Meeting of Creditors?
During this meeting, your Trustee will ask several questions, which you must answer under oath. Answering these questions ensures your assets have been properly prepared, disclosed, and listed. Since the Trustee is already privy to your financial affairs, these questions are relatively straightforward. They are not meant to confuse, embarrass, or harass you.
Common questions during a Meeting of Creditors include:
- Did you review your bankruptcy schedules and petition before filing them with the Court?
- Is all the information contained in your bankruptcy filing true and correct?
- Are all assets, creditors, and financial information disclosed?
- Have you ever filed for bankruptcy before?
- Has anything changed since your bankruptcy filing?
- Are you required to pay domestic support obligations like child support?
- Have you filed all tax returns?
- Have you transferred or sold assets in the last four years?
- Have you made payments to creditors exceeding $600 in the last year?
- Does anyone owe you money?
As the meeting nears its end, your Trustee should ask about specific information contained in your bankruptcy filing.
Tips for Answering Questions Under Oath
Though most questions asked during the Meeting of Creditors are meant to verify your bankruptcy petition and documents, you must answer under oath, as stated above. When questioned, remember to always:
- Tell the Truth
- Listen to the Questions Intently
- Let the Trustee Finish Before You Speak
- Answer Questions in as Few Words as Possible
Is Filing for Bankruptcy Right for You?
If you’re overwhelmed by debt and struggling to make ends meet, don’t lose hope. Debt relief is attainable, but you can’t do it alone. For more than 30 years, the Law Office of Joel R. Spivack has helped thousands of people get a fresh start on their finances – and we can help you too. As your advocate, I will be by your side throughout the entire process, including the Meeting of Creditors.
For a free, one-on-one meeting (virtual or in-person) to discuss your options, contact our office today at 856-488-1200.
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.