In our last video, we discussed the timeline and events that happen after you file for chapter 7 bankruptcy. Now you are going to prepare for your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Meeting of Creditors.
This meeting is conducted by your chapter 7 trustee. This trustee is randomly appointed by the United States Trustees Office. It will be one of six current trustees that we have in the Southern District of Texas. We call it the 341 meeting because that is where the meeting information is located in the Bankruptcy Code.
When preparing for your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Meeting of Creditors, you will see it is in a conference room. There is a list outside that room that includes your case and all the other cases scheduled for that day. Typically the chapter 7 trustee will conduct around 3 to 4 meetings every half an hour. Meetings ahead of yours can run long, so yours may not start on time. When the trustee is ready, he/she will call your case .
Keep in mind that the meetings are held in a conference room, not in a courtroom. The trustee will verify your identity and your social security number. So make sure you provide your government-issued ID like your driver’s license and provide proof of your social security number. This can be your social security card or it can be W-2 or a 1099, or some official government document that has your social security number on it.
When we sit down, the trustee is going to have you and sign in to verify your attendance. Understand that the meeting is being electronically recorded, so you want to speak up. The trustee will then swear you in. You will be sworn to tell the truth and nothing but the truth. We call this taking the oath.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Meeting of Creditors is a chance for the trustee and creditors to ask you financial questions. The trustee then proceeds to ask you standard questions about your case. For example: did you provide your lawyer with the documents needed to prepare your paperwork; did you review that paperwork with your lawyer before you filed your case; did you personally sign those documents that your attorney prepared; did you list everything you own (this is important because you are required to list all of your assets).
Other questions may include if you have any claims against anyone; can you sue anyone for money; the trustee will make sure that you understand you have a duty to let them know if any of the information in your paperwork changes; the trustee will ask do you understand that you can file the other types of bankruptcies; the repayment plans cases such as chapter 11, chapter 12, and chapter 13; and then finally the trustee is going to want to make sure you understand the effect and the impact of a discharge on your credit report.
Also some trustees like to ask about what happened basically that caused you to have to file bankruptcy. You don’t have to have an elaborate answer. A lot of times, I call it your elevator speech. So just spend a half a minute to one minute explaining what happened or led you to have to file bankruptcy.
That’s basically it. Congratulations. It seems a little anticlimactic and I agree, but it’s not designed to be a long or arduous type of hearing. The trustee’s job is just to go through your information. Generally the trustee will recommend that this be a no asset case. That’s a good thing. That means the trustee won’t be taking any of your stuff and will allow all of your exemptions.
When the meeting is completed, we will focus on the next steps in between now and when you get your discharge . Watch the next video. Thank You.