I Have to Attend a Meeting of Creditors. Should I Be Worried?
Debtors who file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy must attend what is called 341 Meeting of Creditors, named after a section of the bankruptcy code. This meeting is unavoidable, so you are not about to encounter something that millions of debtors before you haven’t survived. Read on to learn more about this meeting.
The Purpose of the Meeting
All the creditors that you list in your bankruptcy petition will receive notice of the Meeting of Creditors. Its purpose is to allow the creditors to ask you questions about your debts and assets. The trustee at the meeting can also ask questions to figure out whether your paperwork was completed accurately and completely.
Frequently, many creditors never show up, and it isn’t unusual for no creditors to show up. Nevertheless, you still must attend the meeting. It is typically scheduled 45-60 days after you file your bankruptcy petition. You should receive notification of the date, or else your lawyer will receive notification.
Questions You Might be Asked
The trustee will begin by requesting proof of your personal identity, and then will probably follow up with questions on the following topics:
- Whether you signed the petition and schedules
- Whether all assets are listed in the schedules
- Whether anyone holds property that belongs to you
- Whether you have a legal claim against anyone, e.g., for a personal injury
- Whether someone owes you money
- Whether you have made large payments over $600 to someone in the past year
Creditors can also ask their own questions. Some secured creditors (such as the lender for your car loan) might ask whether you intend to reaffirm the loan. Reaffirming the loan means that it will survive bankruptcy and you can continue to keep the collateral provided you continue to make necessary payments.
The questions should be straightforward, and no one should be aggressive. This is not a cross-examination in a courtroom. If you don’t understand a question, ask for clarification.
How to Prepare for the Meeting of Creditors
If you are nervous, then you might want to spend some time with your attorney going over the questions that you might be asked. Ask your lawyer to give you a list of likely questions and discuss any that you are worried about.
Helpfully, your attorney will be right there beside you during the 341 meeting, so if something surprising happens you can lean on him or her to help advise you. Also, if you do not speak English well, translation services are available in many different languages so that you can communicate with your creditors and the trustee.
Speak with a Florida Bankruptcy Lawyer
Bankruptcy is not particularly complicated, but it is easy for the average person to get confused by all of the paperwork and the sheer amount of detail. Fortunately, Nowack & Olson is here to help in Plantation. As one of the top bankruptcy firms in South Florida, we have built our reputation by providing tailored customer service to our clients. Please call 888-813-4737 or submit our contact form to schedule your free initial consultation.