Filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy is relatively easy to do if you hire a lawyer, and it generally only requires going to bankruptcy court one time. This visit to your local bankruptcy court is called a meeting of the creditors, and it is designed for several purposes. Here are five things you should be aware of regarding this meeting.
You Must Attend
After filing all the necessary paperwork, the bankruptcy trustee will notify you about a meeting of creditors. This meeting takes place between 21 to 40 days after you file, and every creditor you owe money to will be notified about the meeting. Any of your creditors may show up to the meeting; however, most creditors do not attend.
In addition to you attending, your lawyer will also be present. Your lawyer will sit with you during the meeting, and you are free to ask him or her questions if you need to.
You Must Bring Documentation
Your lawyer will tell you exactly what to bring with you to the meeting, and this will probably include:
- Your driver's license or state ID
- Pay stubs
- Financial records
- Loan and debt statements
If you have already submitted all financial documents to your attorney, he or she will bring them to the meeting, so you may not have to. If you do not have the items needed for this meeting, the trustee may postpone it or may ask you to send the documents in as soon as possible.
You Will Be Under Oath
One of the key things to realize about this meeting is that the trustee will ask you questions. If any of your creditors show up to the meeting, they too can ask you questions. When the meeting begins, you will be sworn in. This means you will be under oath and must tell the truth. If you lie during this meeting and are caught, you could be prosecuted for lying under oath.
There Will Be A Lot Of Questions
The trustee will begin the meeting by asking you a lot of general questions. These may include your name, address, and occupation. After that, he or she will ask you a lot of financial questions, including if you have ever filed for bankruptcy before. If so, you must know the date. This is vital, because there are time restrictions when it comes to filing for bankruptcy more than once.
The trustee is also likely to ask you if you have given away any assets recently, or if you expect to receive any valuable assets any time in the near future.
The Trustee Has Several Goals
There are several goals for this meeting, but the main one is to make sure you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The next goal is to determine what assets you own that the trustee may be able to seize from you. The other goal of this meeting is to give your creditors a chance to object to the discharge of debts you owe.
Once the trustee has enough information from you, he or she will end the hearing and you will be free to go home. It is not unusual for a lawyer to notify his or her client a few days after the meeting asking for more documentation of assets or debts, so do not be surprised if this happens to you.
Going to a meeting of the creditors can be a little intimidating, but it is usually the only meeting required in court for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. If you have questions about this, contact a bankruptcy lawyer today to set up an appointment. Check out sites like http://timgeorgelaw.com for more information.