What Should You Expect At A Chapter 7 Meeting Of Creditors?

Posted on: 2 December 2017

Many Chapter 7 bankruptcy filers feel anxious about attending the meeting of creditors, but it's usually a quick, easy appointment. Your bankruptcy trustee holds this meeting, which is formally known as the 341 meeting of creditors, to give creditors a chance to reaffirm debts or argue against your discharge. This may sound intimidating, but creditors rarely show up for this meeting. Every conference is tailored to your unique financial situation, but here are some things that might happen during your Chapter 7 meeting of creditors.

Income Verification

Do you remember the stacks of paperwork you filed when you initiated your bankruptcy? You may need to provide some of that information again so that your trustee can prepare for your meeting of creditors.

Some trustees provide an email address or fax number where you can fax documents prior to the meeting. If yours doesn't, expect to bring a copy of your 521 documents. You may need to provide the following paperwork:

  • Two years of federal tax returns
  • A copy of your mortgage or rental documents
  • The title to your automobile or motorcycle
  • A divorce decree that details your assets and financial obligations

This is not a full list of required documents, so pay attention to what the trustee requests. Failure to provide requested documents may result in a delay or rejection of your bankruptcy filing, so it's wise to have an experienced bankruptcy attorney help you gather your documents.

Personal Questions

The trustee will record your meeting. When the meeting begins, you will confirm your identity and answer some personal questions about yourself. Some questions are basic questions that everyone answers, while others specifically apply to your situation. Here are some personal questions your trustee might ask during the meeting of creditors:

  • Why are you filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
  • What type of work do you do, and do you expect to change careers soon?
  • Did you attend college?
  • Do you have any cars, homes, or boats in another person's name?

These questions help the trustee learn more about you so that he can determine whether you are an ethical person. If he suspects fraud, you may have to provide additional documents.

The entire meeting only lasts about 10 minutes, but that only includes the length of time you spend speaking with the trustee. You might spend several hours in the courtroom if the trustee is conducting multiple meetings that day. If you have a bankruptcy lawyer, you'll get to meet with the creditor before attendees who do not have legal representation.

This meeting is mandatory if you want your Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharged, so it's vital that you attend. A skilled bankruptcy attorney can help you prepare for this meeting so that you can receive the clean financial slate you deserve.