In every bankruptcy case it is required that the person filing for bankruptcy attend a meeting called the Meeting of Creditors. This meeting is an opportunity for the trustee who is assigned to your case to ask you questions about the truthfulness of the information that you provided the bankruptcy court. Further, as the name suggests, the meeting is also an opportunity for any of your creditors who wish to appear to ask you questions about the information provided in your bankruptcy documents. For most, this meeting is very brief (usually less than 5 minutes), and usually requires nothing more than you testifying under oath that the information provided to the bankruptcy court is true and accurate to the best of your knowledge.
When Does This Meeting Occur?
The Meeting of Creditors is typically held approximately 30 days after the filing of your bankruptcy case. I am often asked if this meeting can be rescheduled if it is held an inconvenient time. Generally the answer to this question is no. The reason being is that the bankruptcy court has sent notice of this meeting to all of your creditors, and to reschedule would require providing new notice to all of your creditors. Because of this, it is best to work your schedule around this meeting and plan on attending on the date initially assigned. You will have at least 30 days’ notice to prepare for this meeting.
Where Does This Meeting Take Place?
If your bankruptcy case was filed in the Phoenix metro area this meeting will be held at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court located in downtown Phoenix. The meeting is held in a conference room that has been set aside for this purpose. If your bankruptcy case was filed in Pinal County, then your Meeting of Creditors will be held in a conference center located in Casa Grande.
Photo Identification and Social Security Card
In order for your meeting to go forward as scheduled, you’ll be required to show photo identification as well as proof of your Social Security number. This is usually accomplished by you providing your driver’s license and your Social Security card to the trustee. If you do not have your Social Security card is important that you get a new one prior to this meeting. You can get this by going to the local Social Security office and ordering a new card. The Social Security office will give you a receipt, and if you ask, they will print your Social Security number on the receipt. Most trustees will accept this as a form of proof of your Social Security number.
Documents Requested by the Trustee Before the Meeting of Creditors
While there are many bankruptcy trustees, virtually all of them will send you a letter soon after your bankruptcy case is filed. This letter will ask for specific documents from you such as bank statements, copies of tax returns, and paycheck stubs. Some trustees may even have a questionnaire that you will be required to complete and return. It is important that these documents and any other requests of the trustee be complied with prior to the Meeting of Creditors. If you’ve not provided these documents prior to the meeting it is likely that your trustee will reschedule the Meeting of Creditors to a later date. However, you will not learn of this new date until you actually drive to downtown Phoenix and meet with the trustee, only to learn that you’re now going to be required to come back at a later date. In order for your Meeting of Creditors to go smoothly it is important that you comply with this request of the trustee in a timely manner.
What Types of Questions Will I Be Asked by the Trustee?
For the most part, the trustee asks everyone the same questions. Specifically, you can expect to be asked if the information provided in your bankruptcy documents is true and accurate. Further, you can expect the trustee will ask you if you reviewed and signed the documents prior to your bankruptcy filing. The trustee may have specific questions about the information provided in your documents including information on assets or transfers of assets that have occurred prior to filing for bankruptcy. Typically, the actual meeting lasts only 3 to 5 minutes.
Will My Creditors Appear at this Meeting?
The biggest concern of most of my clients is whether their creditors will appear at this meeting and question them. It should bring some comfort to know that in less than 1% of my cases do creditors actually appear and ask questions. The types of cases were creditors appear are usually those involving a debtor who owns a business that has recently closed or those debtors who have recently been through a contentious divorce proceeding. However, in most cases, it is very rare for a creditor to actually appear.
I offer a free bankruptcy consultation where we can discuss your specific situation and help you understand more fully the bankruptcy process.
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John Skiba, Esq.
We offer a free consultation to discuss your debt problem and help you put together a game plan to eliminate your debt once and for all. Give us a call at (480) 420-4028