Wednesday, April 4, 2012

S is for Scared: Meeting Of Creditors

So, you filed bankruptcy and have received your commencement notice from the court that includes, among other things, the date, time and place of your Meeting of Creditors.

For many of my clients, the name conjures up thoughts from a horror movie, only worse because instead of watching it on the big screen, you have suddenly been thrust into, and made a part of, the movie.
"Meeting of Creditors"; that's really a bad name, but it is what the bankruptcy code has given it. So, why is it a bad name? Because it is rare that creditors show up. Certainly they are invited when they receive the commencement notice of your case (Form B9A). Yes, this is the same form you received in the mail. But in reality, there is seldom any reason for creditors to show up.

So, naturally you ask, for the times creditors show up, why do they show up? Good question. The answer may not be very straight forward, because obviously there could be as many different reasons as there are creditors. However, in the past I have seen creditors show up for several reasons, which can for the most part be categorized as follows:
  1. The creditor is unsophisticated, and simply does not know he, she, or it does not need to be there.
  2. The creditor is not clear as to your intentions are regarding a secured asset, and simply wants a clarification as to what your intentions are.
  3. The debtor suspects fraud, or the hiding of assets.
  4. The creditor is upset, and has hired an attorney to attend the meeting of creditors to ask questions, sometimes to try to determine if there are any grounds for the court to deny the granting of a discharge.
OK, so by now I suspect you are really nervous about attending the meeting of creditors. Well, you can relax, as long as the documents supplied to the court are truthful and you have been represented by an attorney, you really do not have anything to worry about.

You should expect the trustee to ask you hard questions (similar to the ones I asked in my office during consultation). They will most likely include some of the following:
  1. Please state your name, address, and telephone number for the record.
  2. What is your work number?
  3. Did you receive and read the information sheet from the US Trustee's office?
  4. Did you read the documents your attorney prepared for you before signing?
  5. Are they truthful and correct?
  6. When you spoke with me on the phone, did you answer all my questions truthfully?
  7. Are there any changes that need to be made?
  8. Is there anybody that owes you money?
  9. Is there anybody you could bring a cause of action against for damages for anything, including a personal injury?
  10. Have you ever received an inheritance?
  11. Have you received your tax refund?
  12. How much was it, and when did you receive it?
  13. What did you do with it? (or, Do not spend the refund after receiving it before you contact my office [referring to the trustee's office]).
  14. Most of all, remember you are placed under oath. Make sure all you answers are truthful. Should you get caught lying in federal court, it can definitely ruin your day!
There may also be some questions about schedules filed with the court.
I know what your thinking, hard stuff; yeh, right ;)
That's it. It is usually uneventful, and that is part of the reason you hired an attorney to help you with the bankruptcy, to try to make sure it stays that way.
If you are still nervous, just show up about 20 minutes early to sit in the room and listen to questions the trustee is asking other debtors. Most likely, your questions will be similar.

For the Middle District of Florida, Jacksonville Division, remember a few things:
1) take any documents with you the trustee asked you to bring (if any);
2) make sure you have your government issued Photo ID (such as a Driver License) and Social Security card; and
3) leave you cell phone in your car, as they are not allowed in the courthouse.


Other notable terms starting with S:

Schedules and Statements Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska Bankruptcy Attorney, Ryan D. Caldwell
Security Interest Jay S. Fleischman
Spouse Cleveland Bankruptcy Attorney Bill Balena
Statement of Intention Metro Richmond Consumer and Bankruptcy Attorney, Mitchell Goldstein
Statutory Lien Dorota Trzeciecka Bankruptcy Blog
Step Plan Kurt O'Keefe Michigan bankruptcy lawyer
Strip Bay Area bankruptcy lawyer Cathy Moran
Student Loans Colorado Springs Bankruptcy Lawyer Bob Doig
Student Loans Hawaii Bankruptcy Lawyer, Stuart T. Ing
Stuff WilksLaw, - DC Metro
Surrender Metro Richmond Consumer and Bankruptcy Attorney, Mitchell Goldstein


  1. The answer may not be very straight forward, because obviously there could be as many different reasons as there are creditors.

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  3. I think one other factor for clients being nervous before the meeting is the fact that they are meeting the very people whom they owe money. But like you said, creditors rarely show up and it's a relatively painless process, as long as you have legitimate documents and a bankruptcy lawyer to help you out. As long as you don't have anything to hide, everything's going to be fine.

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