While there are instances where a court appearance may be required, most Debtors never have to appear in front of a Judge. The only appearance that every Debtor filing bankruptcy must make is to the creditors’ meeting.
Creditors’ meetings generally take place at a courthouse, but you don’t appear in front of a Judge. Instead, the meeting is conducted by a bankruptcy Trustee, a court-appointed attorney.
What is a Creditors’ Meeting?
After filing bankruptcy, you will be scheduled to attend a creditors’ meeting, sometimes also called a 341 hearing. This is a mandatory meeting in which you discuss your financial information under oath. Creditors may appear at this meeting if they choose, but oftentimes don’t.
The Trustee’s job is to verify Debtors have presented true and accurate information. Of course, your attorney will be at your creditors’ meeting with you. Debtors typically talk with the Trustee for 5-10 minutes and then the meeting is concluded.
Preparing for the Creditors’ Meeting
Being unprepared for the creditors’ meeting can have negative consequence such as the meeting getting continued, having to appear more than once, and postponing your bankruptcy discharge order. The key to a smooth creditors’ meeting is getting required documents to your attorney in a timely manner.
The Trustee will want to see documents such as tax returns, paystubs, and more (your attorney will let you know the specifics for your case). You will need to promptly get these documents to your attorney, if you haven’t already. Your attorney will then prepare and send them to the Trustee so he or she can review your information ahead of time.
Being prepared for your creditors’ meeting and talking with your attorney about what to expect will help make the meeting go smoothly and reduce any worries you may have about it.
Call us at (217)214-3022 to schedule a bankruptcy consultation.