If you are considering bankruptcy, you may not realize that it's no longer necessary to appear before a bankruptcy judge. Just the thought of this appearance could cause you to put off your filing, which could only worsen your financial situation further. There is a meeting that you must attend, however, but you should not get unduly stressed out about it. You can find out what this meeting is all about by reading below, so that you will be prepared and feel more at ease when the time comes.
The Creditor's Meeting
Again, try not to let the name of this meeting fool you, creditors very seldom ever bother to attend this meeting and your bankruptcy attorney will prepare you well in advance if they do. This meeting, also called the 341 meeting, is very likely the one and only time you will need to appear for anything related to this bankruptcy.
Presiding Over the Meeting
While the actual practices can vary a bit depending on your federal district, in most cases the person presiding over your creditor's meeting is not a judge, but is instead an attorney with lots of bankruptcy experience. This person is known as your bankruptcy trustee, and you may have already encountered them from any bankruptcy-related correspondence or from a property inspection.
You may not be familiar with the city or the area of town where your meeting will be held, so be sure to leave enough time to deal with getting lost and parking issues. In most cases, these meetings are held in federal buildings of some sort, either a courtroom or a large conference room. Bring your bankruptcy paperwork with you and have government-issued photo identification and your Social Security card with you.
What Happens at the Meeting?
You and everyone else with the same date and time "appointment" will assemble and be called to stand or step forward one person at a time, usually in alphabetical order. You will have the opportunity to observe the questions being asked of each filer, so you can be ready when it's your turn. In most cases, you must answer less than 5 or so questions, such as:
- Have you ever filed bankruptcy before?
- Is that your signature on the petition and is the info within correct?
- Have your filed your federal taxes yet?
In most cases, your time before the trustee is over before you even know it, and you can expect to receive your final bankruptcy paperwork in the mail shortly thereafter. Contact an attorney, like Jeffrey S. Arnold, Attorney at Law, P.C. , for more help.