Many people are surprised by the idea of a creditor's meeting when they learn about it; it seems both comforting and scary at the same time. It seems comforting because you don't have to actually appear before a judge in a traditional court to have your bankruptcy case heard, but scary because the thought of facing people that you owe money to is quite intimidating. The good news is that a creditor's meeting is nothing to worry about, as long as you are well-prepared. Read on to learn more about this event, and soon you will be on the other side of it.
1. You will learn of the date and time via mail, so be sure to know exactly where to park, where to go and what to bring with you. You will need to show valid photo government-issued identification, such as driver's license or passport, as well as a copy of your bankruptcy paperwork (the bankruptcy petition). These meetings are usually held in a nearby city in a federal building, sometimes in a courtroom but just as often in a large conference room. Though it may be held in a courtroom, there will be no "bankruptcy judge," as there is no such thing. Instead, the meeting will be presided over by the bankruptcy trustee.
2. You should plan to spend approximately two to four hours at the meeting, but don't worry, as your time before the trustee will be extremely brief. It comes as a shock to some filers that their creditor's meeting is not a private event but is instead in a room filled with other bankruptcy filers with the exact same appointment time. In fact, the proceedings are actually open to the public. Whether or not you remain in the meeting after your turn depends on local custom, but it's a good idea to leave your children elsewhere just in case you have to stay the entire meeting.
3. If you are fortunate enough to have a bankruptcy attorney, you may not actually see them until your name is called. The attorney may have other clients present at the same meeting. Once called, you will be sworn to tell the truth and then the trustee will ask you the same questions that were asked of all the other filers, such as:
- Have you ever filed for bankruptcy before?
- Is the information on your bankruptcy petition accurate and is that your signature?
- Have you filed your federal taxes yet?
4. You may be wondering, at this point, why the meeting is called a creditor's meeting. It can be somewhat of a misnomer, since creditors seldom appear at the meeting. If there are any issues with your filing, however, you may encounter a creditor who wants to object or question you about your debt. Your attorney will have prior knowledge of any appearances, and you will have plenty of opportunities to be prepared for any issues that arise. It is in your best interest to ensure that you have not used your credit cards to run up debt for frivolous purchases in the last few month prior to your filing, however.
For more information, contact John D Rouse or a similar legal professional.