My clients are often anxious about their bankruptcy Meeting of Creditors. This is understandable, as the process is new and unknown to them. However, a little preparation beforehand can greatly reduce the anxiety by making it clear that the process will go smoothly. What exactly do you need to know about your Meeting of Creditors? Here are some simple tips.
First, you will need to know the location and time of the meeting. This will be mailed to you by the Court, in the form of the Meeting of Creditors Notice. If you do not receive this notice within a few weeks of filing your case, contact your bankruptcy attorney. The location will be determined by your county of residence at the time of filing, and the date is usually 4 to 6 weeks after filing. It is important to schedule appropriately once you receive this date, as you may need to miss work or school, or get a babysitter. You'll have plenty of time to do so, but if you fail to appear twice, your case may be dismissed. Once again, if you have any questions about the location, contact your bankruptcy attorney immediately.
The second thing you will need to be prepared is a government issued photo ID and your original Social Security card. These are used by the Trustee to identify you, and your Meeting of Creditors will not proceed without them. Make sure you put both pieces of information aside, as failure to do so will lead to a rescheduled meeting, which may result in additional legal fees.
You may also want to review the information sheet provided by the US Trustees office before your Meeting of Creditors. You will be asked directly if you have reviewed this sheet. Your bankruptcy attorney should review this information with you before filing, which includes filing requirements and information about the different types of bankruptcy. This information sheet should be available at the meeting location if you have not reviewed it beforehand.
If your case is a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you should also bring proof that you have begun making payments into your plan. This may include a copy of any money order you mailed in on your own, or a recent pay stubs showing the wage attachment being deducted. This shows the Trustee that you are complying with the terms of your plan, and that granting interim confirmation is reasonable.
Finally, each trustee will ask a set of his or her own questions. You should review these questions with your attorney at least once before your meeting date, and on the day of the meeting. Knowing the questions, and how straightforward they are, should greatly reduce your anxiety over the process. The questions differ slightly from trustee to trustee, but an experienced bankruptcy attorney should know exactly what they will ask. Reviewing these questions once last time may also jog your memory of any errors or omissions, of which the trustee should be made aware. If you review the questions beforehand, nothing should take you by surprise on the day of the meeting.
In summary, preparing for your bankruptcy Meeting of Creditors is simple... know the time, date and location. Be familiar with the questions. Have your ID cards. Contact us with any questions about your bankruptcy Meeting of Creditors. It will go more smoothly than you can imagine.