Approximately four weeks after filing the chapter 7 bankruptcy petition, you required to attend a chapter 7 bankruptcy meeting of creditors. It is also commonly referred to as the trustee meeting or the 341(a) hearing.
For consumer chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, the meeting of creditors does not actually involve any meeting. There are no creditors at the meeting and they do not get to grill you there.
The creditors meeting serves mainly for the trustee to inform you of your chapter 7 bankruptcy rights and to make sure that you know what you are filing bankruptcy voluntarily.
If you were misled into filing chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can use the creditor meeting as the opportunity to bow out of your bankruptcy filing.
The hearing usually last for under a minute unless you want it to last longer, which would be the case if you have lots of questions for the trustee.
Most people let their chapter 7 bankruptcy documents talk for them and they usually prefer to be done with it very quickly.
If you have a lawyer with you at the creditor meeting, he or she cannot represent you in the usual sense. You must appear there in person and you must answer the trustee's questions with your own mouth, unless you have a medical or physical or mental incapacity.
What sort of questions does the trustee ask?
The trustee will first inform you of your chapter 7 bankruptcy rights and then they will ask you if the information in your documents is truthful. Typically they will follow it by asking you if the facts in the documents have changed since you filed the forms. That is usually all there is to it.
In fact most debtors are surprised how easy the process is, once it is over. Those who hired a lawyer are often disappointed with themselves for doing so in the first place, particularly when they see so many other debtors sail through the hearing easily.
It is important to note that a chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer is not allowed to speak for you at the trustee hearing. They just cannot.
Why Creditors Do Not Show Up at The Meeting
The hearing is called as creditor meeting because it the concept is carried over from business chapter 11 cases, where creditors do show up. These are creditors who are often owed many millions of dollars by the bankruptcy business corporation.
In consumer chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, creditors do not show up becasuse this hearing is mostly a formality required by law.
This does not mean that you will not find a representative for a major credit card company among the crowd of onlookers. Such representatives wait until your hearing is over and as you try to exit the building, they give your their business card and ask you to cal them if you what to reaffirm a debt or if you want them to still extend you credit in spite of your chapter 7 bankruptcy filing.
Preparing for the creditor meeting
When you purchase our full-service chapter 7 bankruptcy product, we provide you information to help you prepare for your creditor meeting
Our instructions contain information that may not be readily obvious to the novice debtor but that could help make the process very smooth.
Ask and Attorney
To prepare for the creditor meeting, you can also utilize our free ask-an-attorney option to ask them questions.
As you know by now, we are not lawyers and nothing on this site is intended to imply that we are. But that does not stop you from getting your legal questions answered by licensed chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers. If you need legal advice, you can take advantage of our ask-an-attorney option. Be sure to read more about it from our vertical navigation link to the right.