Understanding Bankruptcy – Jul. 4, 2019

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Question: Should I be worried about going to my meeting of creditors?

Answer: After you file a bankruptcy case, you are required to attend a Meeting of Creditors. This is scheduled for about a month after your petition is filed and is usually the only appearance you will need to make during the bankruptcy process.

Should you be nervous about it? Probably not, especially if your bankruptcy lawyer knows what he or she is doing.

Your attorney should prepare your bankruptcy petition and schedules with plenty of attention to detail and accuracy. Before you sign your petition, you should carefully review it and correct any items that are incorrect or incomplete.

At the meeting of creditors, the bankruptcy trustee will ask you some questions which you will answer under oath.

1. Tell the truth.
2. Listen to the question.
3. Let the trustee finish before you start speaking.
4. Answer in as few words as possible.

The trustee will already know much about your financial affairs. Before your scheduled meeting, your attorney sends the trustee several documents. Prior to the meeting the trustee has reviewed your deed, mortgage, vehicle titles, and your most recent tax returns, in addition to your bankruptcy petition and schedules.

So, when you meet with the trustee, they may not have many question for you other than “When you signed your bankruptcy petition and schedules did you review them? And were they true and accurate? Were there any errors or omissions?”

You may be asked if you had sold any property in the last few years, or how much of a tax refund you expect to get. The trustee could ask if you have suffered any injuries that you could sue someone for, or if you expect to receive an inheritance. The trustee will also discuss with you what will happen to any property you own that is not protected by an exemption.

The meeting of creditors often takes less than ½ hour. When it is over, my clients often ask me, “Is that all?”

Next Week’s Question: Can bankruptcy be a new day?

Michael A. Cibik, Esquire

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