A bankruptcy trustee is assigned to each petition filed in the bankruptcy court. The trustee conducts a creditors meeting approximately 30 days after Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy petitions are filed. But, despite the name, creditors often don’t show up. More important is preparing for questions by the trustee.
Take your driver’s license or other government issued photo ID and social security card. Failure to bring those items can result in rescheduling. The bankruptcy trustee examines those items. One of the first questions is whether you signed the petition and whether you read all of the documents before they were filed. After that, there is a general list of often asked questions:
Questions at Creditors Meeting
- Are you personally familiar with all information in the petition and associated documents?
- To the best of your knowledge is all information in the petition and all associated documents true, correct and complete?
- Are there any errors or omissions in the papers?
- Are all of your assets and debts listed on the schedules?
- Have you previously filed bankruptcy?
- Do you owe anyone money or do you make payments under any domestic support obligation?
- Have you filed all tax returns that you are required to have filed?
- Have you ever owned any real estate?
- If owned at present, how did you arrive at the value of the property included on Schedule A?
- Does anyone hold property belonging to you?
- Do you have a claim against any person or business?
- Are you the plaintiff in any law suit? Have you been injured in an accident in which you could bring a claim or a lawsuit?
- Are you entitled to life insurance or an inheritance as a result of someone’s death?
- Are you a beneficiary of any trust?
- Have you made any payments of more than $600 in the aggregate to any one creditor or individual in the last year?
- Do you have any bank accounts or other accounts with financial institutions not included in your schedules?
- How did you arrive at the value of the car(s) on schedule B?
- Are all vehicles in your name insured? (Note: If you live in a state like New Hampshire where auto insurance is not mandatory, it is NOT an acceptable answer that state law does not mandate auto insurance. Under federal bankruptcy law, the trustee is the equitable owner of your car from the moment the case is filed until the end of the case, and you must insure his or her car under the federal law.
- Does anyone else make contributions to your household?
- Do you have any winning lottery tickets?
- Have you been engaged in any business during the last 6 years?
Creditors Meeting Final Preparation
A bankruptcy trustee can explore any area in more detail. Trustees preside over many creditors meetings and can ask anything that might lead to information that helps them do their job. Depending on the facts of any case, questions can go down many paths. Some trustees ask why you filed bankruptcy.
Before the creditors meeting read your entire petition. Bankruptcy requires review of your complete financial situation including all debt, income, assets and expenses. It is highly recommend that an experienced bankruptcy attorney in your jurisdiction be retained to guide you through the complexities of bankruptcy law and procedure.
What is the timeline of a typical Chapter 7 bankruptcy case?