A meeting of creditors is a mandatory hearing that is held approximately 30 days after the filing of any consumer bankruptcy case. It is commonly referred to at the §341 meeting of creditors as this is the code section found in Title 11 of the United States Code (Bankruptcy Code) that mandates or requires this hearing be held. It is normally presided over by the United States Trustee or a representative of the Trustee. The Court i.e. Judge, may not conduct or attend this meeting.
Who must attend this meeting? It is mandatory for all debtors and debtor’s attorneys to attend a meeting of creditors. Each Debtor is required to take an oath in which they swear or affirm that they will tell the truth. The creditors that each Debtor has listed are also invited to attend this meeting, but there is no requirement that the creditors attend. However, they may come to the meeting to ask the Debtor questions about the debt that they have with that particular creditor. The most common creditors that are in attendance at these meetings are automobile lien holders who usually want to verify that their collateral is insured. Most creditors are courteous to the Debtors at these meetings; it is generally not a scary “grilling” session.
The Trustee, or representative of the Trustee, who presides over the meeting of creditors may ask the Debtor questions about the petition and schedules that the Debtor has filed with the court. The Chapter 13 meeting of creditors also serves as a good forum to address or point out any minor issues or changes that need to be made to the debtors plan in order to get the plan ready for confirmation. At the Chapter 7 meeting of creditors, the Trustee is required to examine the Debtor to determine that they are aware of the consequences of receiving a discharge in bankruptcy, the opportunity to have filed other chapters of bankruptcy in order to repay creditors, the effects of receiving a discharge and the effects of reaffirming any debts. These meetings are normally brief, efficient and quite painless for the Debtors.
If you are currently having financial difficulty and are considering filing for bankruptcy please take the next step by contacting one of our offices that is most convenient for you to set up a free consultation with one of our licensed and experienced attorneys.