Every person who files a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy will have to attend what people commonly call a meeting of creditors.
The meeting of creditors is a required court proceeding. Although a judge will not attend, the proceeding is recorded and is an important part of the case. Debtors must attend and participate in the proceeding or face negative consequences, including having their bankruptcies dismissed.
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the meeting of creditors is usually the only proceeding. When things go smoothly, a debtor will get a discharge after the meeting of creditors.
The meeting of creditors is a bit of a misnomer since creditors rarely show up for these proceedings. However, particularly if the bankruptcy has some controversy surrounding it or if the bankruptcy involves a lot of assets and debts, creditors may show up and ask questions.
Typically, an official called the trustee will attend the exam and ask the person, or the married couple, who filed the bankruptcy questions under oath.
Some of these questions may seem routine, while others might touch on the bankruptcy paperwork the person filed or the details of their finances and overall situation.
In a Chapter 7, the trustee’s job is to find any assets they can sell or intercept and use to pay off the creditors. They also ask their questions to make sure that people are not abusing the bankruptcy system.
You can go into to a meeting of creditors with confidence
While a meeting of creditors is a serious proceeding, Miami-area residents can take steps to prepare for it so they can go in with confidence:
- Make sure that you can explain everything that you said in your bankruptcy paperwork. This is much easier when the paperwork is filled out correctly and completely.
- Be sure to bring the proper documents to the meeting. Not having the right documents can delay the process.
- On a related point, make sure anything that had to be submitted before the meeting actually got submitted.
- Take practical steps to reduce stress. You should make sure you leave plenty of time to arrive before the meeting and that you know where the meeting is.
- Remember it is okay not to know the answer to every question, but you must always tell the truth. Think carefully, perhaps by pausing, before each answer.
- In most bankruptcies, the meeting of creditors is just one step in the process.