What Happens After The Bankruptcy Meeting of Creditors?

I have discussed the bankruptcy Meeting of Creditors in some previous posts, including it's purposes and procedure. The Meeting of Creditors is very straightforward. The trustee assigned to your case reviews your petition, your income and expenses, and your property and debts. He or she verifies you are being truthful and thorough, and they also recommend (or object to) your case being discharged. But, your case is not quite complete when the Meeting of Creditors is over. There are still a few things to keep in mind.

I will mostly discuss what happens after the Meeting of Creditors in a Chapter 7 case. The Chapter 13 case typically lasts 3 to 5 years, so the time after the meeting is much greater, and the continued case is more complex. A Chapter 13 Meeting of Creditors is more of a beginning to your case than an end. There is still a lot to do.

The Chapter 7 Meeting of Creditors, on the other hand, signifies that your case is almost complete. The Chapter 7 discharge is usually official 60 days after the Meeting of Creditors. While you do not need to do anything yourself to bring about the discharge, you should keep an eye out for the notice in the mail. If you have not received it within 90 days, give your attorney a call. You should keep your discharge notice on file in case a creditor ever attempts to collect in the future. You may also need the notice of discharge in order to get student loan companies to accept your payments after bankruptcy (creditors are not allowed to attempt to collect from you while you are in bankruptcy, and some will want proof). So, keep an eye out for this discharge notice.

A responsibility you will need to remember after the Meeting of Creditors is to complete the second course, also known as the Financial Management Course. My office will order this course for you, but you will need to complete it over the phone or internet within 60 days of the Meeting of Creditors. Your case will be dismissed if you fail to do so, and you will be required to re-file EVERYTHING, with additional legal fees and costs. It's easy enough to complete, so there is no reason to take any chances... get it done as soon as possible. The consequences of not doing it are too great.

One final thing to keep in mind after the Meeting of Creditors is that you must notify your attorney of any inheritances, lawsuits settlements, insurance claims, or lottery winnings in the 6 months after your case is discharged. In some rare situations, creditors can make claims for a piece of this windfall. These situations are rare, but keep your attorney updated.

In every case, you should not transfer any property or take out any loans until your case is discharged. Your creditors will have the option of objecting to your discharge until 60 days after the Meeting of the Creditors, so it is safest to take no actions during this period, at least without consulting your attorney. I always tell my clients not to do anything there were told not to do in the months leading up to bankruptcy. Better safe than sorry.

Contact us if you have any questions about the Meeting of Creditors, or the period afterwards. There isn't much to do, but you should still be vigilant. Your case will almost be complete, there is no reason to needlessly raise an issue.