When you are struggling with endless debt, filing for bankruptcy can be an essential first step toward taking control of your situation and making a fresh financial start. However, the process can be intimidating, especially if you are unfamiliar with all of the requirements. One of the most important events that will happen during your case is the “meeting of the creditors.” If you have recently filed or are considering filing for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy relief, you will need to know: What happens at the “meeting of the creditors” during a California bankruptcy?
“Meeting of the Creditors”
The meeting of the creditors, or a “section 341 meeting,” is a mandatory meeting during a bankruptcy case that is presided over by the court-appointed trustee. The purpose of the meeting is to allow the bankruptcy trustee and your creditors to clarify the information you have provided in your case and ask questions about your circumstances.
When and Where Will the Meeting Occur?
The meeting will take place between 21 and 50 days after you file your bankruptcy petition. Under ordinary conditions, the meeting of the creditors would probably occur in a room in a courthouse. However, since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Trustee has required that all section 341 meetings be conducted by telephone or through video appearance.
Who Will Attend the Meeting?
The attendees at the meeting will be you, your attorney, the court-designated trustee, and possibly your creditors. Often creditors don’t come to section 341 meetings, and they are not required to attend. Your attendance, however, is mandatory. It’s crucial to your case that you either attend the meeting or have a good reason that you cannot be present. If you fail to appear at a meeting of the creditors without providing a valid excuse beforehand, your bankruptcy could be dismissed.
What Will Happen at the Meeting?
When your meeting begins, you will be expected to present the proper identification. Then you will be placed under oath and asked questions about your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 case. These may include inquiries regarding documents you have filed, your assets and debts, any recent changes to your circumstances, and any other questions the trustee may have that are specific to your case. The trustee will also ask questions to determine which assets you may have that are protected by exemptions. Your creditors will be given notice of the meeting and are welcome to attend and ask questions as well.
Preparing for the Meeting
In most cases, the trustee will require that you submit financial information before the meeting. Additionally, when the clerk of the bankruptcy court sends notice of the time and place of the 341 meeting, they usually include details about what to bring.
The best way to prepare for the meeting of the creditors is by working with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Your counsel can help you ensure that your case is correctly filed and that you provide the trustee with the information and details they need to move forward with your case.
Contact the Law Office of Raffy Boulgourjian
Attorney Raffy Boulgourjian is a bankruptcy attorney with over twenty years of experience representing clients in California. He has the knowledge and expertise to protect your interests during your California bankruptcy matter. Contact Mr. Boulgourjian today to schedule a free legal consultation to discuss your California real estate legal needs.