Preparing for the Chapter 7 meeting of creditors

When filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, debtors are required to attend a meeting of creditors before the case is discharged.

People who are seeking reprieve from their heavy financial debt may choose to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Otherwise referred to as liquidation bankruptcy, Chapter 7 allows people in Florida and across the country to discharge medical expenses, credit card debt and other expenses from their financial record. As part of the filing process, debtors are required to meet certain requirements, including attendance to a meeting of creditors. Although debtors may feel overwhelmed at the thought of facing their creditors at this meeting, it can help if they are both physically and mentally prepared.

What is a meeting of creditors?

When people file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, many of their expenses are wiped away from their list of financial obligations. This means that the creditors that they owed money to must take a loss. According to U.S. Courts, these creditors have the right to face the debtor and ask questions regarding his or her bankruptcy case. The creditors, as well as the trustee who is appointed over the case, can also inquire about the debtor's personal property and assets. In some cases, the trustee may decide to repossess certain pieces of property from the debtor. They can then redistribute the money collected from the value of that property to the creditors in an attempt to cover a portion of the lost debt.

The meeting of creditors is often scheduled somewhere between 21 and 40 days after a person files a petition for bankruptcy with the courts. During a meeting of creditors, debtors are placed under oath and must truthfully answer all of the questions posed by the trustee and the creditors to the best of their ability.

Disclosure

According to the Bankruptcy Code, trustees must ensure that the debtor fully understands the implications of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, including the fact that the bankruptcy will have a negative effect on the debtor's credit report.

People filing for bankruptcy should also understand that they may be able to reaffirm certain loans with their creditors. For example, if the debtor would like to keep a vehicle, he or she must agree to continue making payments on the vehicle loan. The creditor may work with the debtor by lowering the interest rate or extending out the payment period in order to reduce the monthly payments on the vehicle.

Be legally prepared

Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be intimidating and may seem overwhelming to people who are interested in discharging their debt. An attorney in Florida may be able to simplify the bankruptcy process by walking you through the steps needed to file for Chapter 7. A bankruptcy lawyer may also be helpful in preparing all of the documents needed to file, which can help to expedite the bankruptcy process in many cases.